If you don’t grow your own organic fruits and vegetables, trying to buy organic 100% of the time can be costly. That’s why it’s great to know, there is still produce you can buy non-organic and have peace of mind when you and your family eat your meals and snacks.
I personally try to eat 100% organic when necessary and when possible. I say when necessary because some foods are not genetically modified (like popcorn kernels) so there’s no need to buy them organic, and I say when possible, because there are times when you’re traveling on the road (and you forgot to pack healthy lunches) and you have to stop for fast food.
I am grateful that there are so many organizations working in support of better, cleaner eating. Like the Environmental Working Group The EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Their mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With research and education, they drive consumer choice and civic action. Annually they produce several worthwhile lists of the most and least contaminated produce in the United States. One of their lists, based on extensive research and testing is called the Clean 15.
Hallelujah! Fifteen fruits and vegetables you don’t have to buy organic!
Key Findings from the EWG:
- Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
- Some 89 percent of pineapples, 82 percent of kiwi, 80 percent of papayas, 88 percent of mango and 61 percent of cantaloupe had no residues.
- No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
See the Clean Fifteen list below. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides on them. These are fruits and veggies with the least amount of pesticides.
2. Sweet Corn
5. Sweet Peas (frozen)
15. Sweet Potatoes
* A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically engineered seedstock. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid GE produce.
As a conscientious shopper for a family of five, it’s a relief to know that I don’t have to purchase all of my produce at organic price points. A great way to save money is to buy the produce on the Clean Fifteen list at non-organic prices.
When you’re shopping, an easy way to remember most of this list, is to consider the peeling or outer skin of the fruit. Fruits like pineapple, mango, avocado, grapefruit, eggplant, papaya, kiwi and cantaloupe have thick skins that simply act as a barrier to most pesticides and toxic chemicals used in non-organic farming. And vegetables like onions, sweet corn, asparagus, sweet potatoes and cauliflower are surrounded by layers that prevent the vegetable inside from becoming contaminated.
Happy shopping, ya’ll!