According to The Daily Green every few years the Environmental Working Group, which is an advocacy nonprofit group makes a list of 12 foods with the highest pesticide residue. The group says if you can switch to organic when buying these foods you can reduce your exposer to pesticide by 80%.
The Dirty Dozen
The 12 foods that are chosen by the Environmental Working Group were given the nickname The Dirty Dozen, and I am sure you can understand why. Will you be surprised by any of these foods??? I know I was!!!
1. Apples: More than 4O different pesticides have been found on them
2. Celery: Remember this one cause it doesn’t fit the 3 main categories of food with the highest pesticide residue ( tree fruits, berries, leafy greens)
3. Strawberries: Fewer pesticides are found on frozen strawberries
4. Peaches: Fewer pesticides are found on canned peaches
5. Spinach: 50 different pesticides can be found on spinach
6. Nectarines (Imported): Domestic necterines don’t test with as much pesticide residue
7. Grapes (Imported): raisins also have pesticide residue
8. Sweet Bell Peppers: This includes all of its colorful variety
9. Potatoes: Sweet potatoes have less pesticide residue on them
10. Blueberrries: More then 50 pesticides have been detected as residue on them
12. Kale and Collard Greens: We have a tie for 12th place and just because Kale is a superfood it doesn’t mean its pesticide free!!!!
How to Shop Smart
Here are some ways KIWI Magazine has listed to eat organic, but still be able to afford it.
Private label brands
You can save big bucks by choosing store-brand organics at places like Trader Joe’s, ShopRite, Wegman’s, and many more. Processed organic items like cereal might be supplied by the manufacturer of a brand name version, but because they don’t spend money on ads and fancy packaging, the price is lower (often lower even than conventional!). They’re still required to meet the same organic standards. If an item has the USDA Organic seal, try it out: Chances are your family won’t be able to tell the difference.
Beyond the grocery store
Of course there are CSAs and farmers’ markets for organic-minded families. But don’t discount the big box stores and online retailers—many now carry organic goods at low prices. If you do some research next time you’re at Target or browsing on Amazon, you’ll end up knowing what’s worth buying there, and what’s still a better deal at your main store.
One reason organics can be pricey is that the certification process is quite expensive—not only because of the fees involved, but also because farmers must be chemical-free for three years before certification; many can’t afford a prolonged period of lower yields before they’re able to charge organic prices. As a result, smaller companies may choose other ecologically responsible options. They include:
- “Ecoganic” farming, a term now being adopted by small farms that use organic methods but skip the paperwork. Buy local so you can ask the farmer exactly how he works.
- Integrated Pest Management, a farming practice that uses chemical pesticides only when absolutely necessary, and in the smallest possible quantities. You’re most likely to encounter this term at the farmers’ market.
- Certified Humane animal products. Humane Farm Animal Care, the nonprofit behind this program, requires that animals are not only hormone- and antibiotic-free, but also treated humanely, with as little stress as possible. In return, companies can print a Certified Humane seal on their packaging.
- “No hormones or antibiotics added” pledges on animal products. If you can’t swing organic or Certified Humane, look for a specific promise. Hormones are legally prohibited when raising hogs or poultry, but they are used with cows, and antibiotics are permitted for any livestock. This doesn’t speak to pesticides, but at least the animals aren’t pumped full of drugs.
- Canned and frozen conventional produce. “It’s been found through testing that canned peaches and other fruits have a lower level of pesticide residue than fresh,” says Burke, presumably because they don’t have to be pretty enough to attract consumers. “Growers don’t use as much pesticide, because pesticide costs money.” Plus the processing—washing and peeling—takes away some of the remaining residue. With canned goods there is the specter of BPA, so look for brands that avoid the chemical. Though they may not say so on the label, both Native Forest and Eden have many offerings that are BPA-free; check their websites for more information.