By Wendy Rickard
The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental research organization based in Washington, DC, reports that you can lower your pesticide exposure by almost 90 percent by avoiding conventional versions of the top 12 most-contaminated fruits and vegetables.
This EWG “Dirty Dozen” list, in order of most-to-least contaminated, offers a helpful way to prioritize which fruits and veggies to buy organic.
We suggest keeping this guide with your grocery list — especially if you’re trying to economize on food or have trouble finding organic versions of some produce. If you especially love one or more of these fruits or vegetables and eat them frequently, all the more reason to buy organic whenever you can!
3. Sweet Bell Peppers
So which produce is of least concern in terms of pesticides? The EWG reports that these 12 fruits and vegetables tested lowest in pesticide residue:
2. Sweet Corn
6. Sweet Peas (frozen)
12. Sweet Potatoes
Of course, if you can afford to always buy organic you’ll be helping yourself and the planet!
One more thing to note: Many small family farmers, like those you’ll meet at your local farmers’ market, choose not to go through the organic certification process because of the costs involved. However, many of them are still using organic practices, so be sure to ask!