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An Argument for Organic: Cleanest and Dirtiest Produce Items

UPDATE 6/19/12:  The “Dirty Dozen” has now been updated to include 14 total items. The list now includes cucumbers, blueberries, green beans and kale/collard greens; and it no longer includes pears and cherries. The “Clean 12” has also been upgraded to the “Clean 15” and now includes eggplant, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, watermelon, and mushrooms.

There is more talk all the time about how organic is the way to go when selecting food, especially produce. Due to the amount of pesticides and fertilizers used on large domestic and imported crops, not to mention the effects this has on the environment- choosing local, organic produce is becoming more popular.

For all the good organics offered, the price is still steep for some consumers. This story from Yahoo Health suggests that there are some produce items you should buy organic due to the high amount of chemical treatment and level of dirtiness; while others you can buy the regular items and save a little money.

The dirtiest 12 produce items include (should buy organic):
peaches1. Peaches (highest pesticide
2. Apples
3. Sweet Bell Peppers
4. Celery
5. Nectarines
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Lettuce
9. Grapes
10. Pears
11. Spinach
12. Potatoes

The cleanest 12 produce items include:
red onion1. Onion (lowest pesticide)
2. Avocados
3. Frozen Sweet Corn
4. Pineapple
5. Mango
6. Frozen Sweet Peas
7. Asparagus
8. Kiwi
9. Bananas
10. Cabbage
Whether you’re shopping from the cleanest list or the dirtiest- be sure you’re always washing the fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Use warm water, a cleaning cloth for soft skins and a scrubber for tougher skins.

farmer's marketsTips for going organic more affordably:
1. Grow your own garden using organic soils, seeds and do not use fertilizers or pesticides.

2. Shop local farmer’s markets for organic produce, meats, jellies and breads.

3. Shop local co-ops for bulk items like organic rice

4. Join a food buyers club. These local organizations let you pay in as a group and buy direct from wholesalers.

5. Watch for sales at your supermarket and health food stores. Stock up and freeze or can bulk items for later.

August 15th, 2008