When to Buy Organic and When Not To

produce

Eating healthily these days seems overly complicated – there are so many choices. Organic, Non-GMO, farm-raised, and so forth. And while eating foods with these labels is good for you, it’s hard on your wallet. Some items are worth the extra cost, though. Buying produce grown organically means the growing methods are almost completely free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and are non-GMO. The USDA has a strict compliance guide for growers of organic produce to follow which is listed on their website here.

Certain fruits and vegetables are more heavily treated with pesticides than others or retain the chemicals even after washing, which when ingested can have negative effects on your health. Other items however are less treated or don’t absorb as many of the chemicals and there is not a significant difference between buying the regular and the organic.

According to www.organic.org, the most highly contaminated produce items are as follows:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

The following are less contaminated and therefore less harmful to just buy the regular mass-produced variety if you are on a budget:

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas
  • Kiwi
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya

Keep in mind there is some controversy surrounding the organic food trend due to the USDA’s definition of “organic” and what some people might like to believe it is. According to the Washington Post, growers are only required to have 95% organic ingredients to be qualified as organic. There are 200 plus types of non-organic additives that can be used in foods while still maintaining the title, so some of that could be pesticides used on produce. It’s good to do a little research into what you’re buying before you go grocery shopping if you want to be informed on what you’re eating and how it can affect your health.