If you're looking to avoid pesticides, organic produce is the way to go. However the cost of organic can deter consumers. What can a shopper do?
The Environmental Working Group comes to the rescue with the "Dirty Dozen:" the top twelve foods that should be purchased organically.
Every year the EWG updates their list of most offending items, in terms of pesticide residue. Top offenders include apples, celery and strawberries.
What Is Considered Safe?
If those are the top foods to buy organic, what can be generally considered safe if purchased conventionally?
EWG also compiles the "Clean 15:" 15 conventionally grown items that are least likely to have pesticide issues.
Onions, sweet corn and pineapples topped the Clean 15 list, with less than one percent of onion samples tested showing any pesticide residue.
Where you get your produce can also make a difference -- shopping locally and from farmer's markets likely means organic. Kim Barnouin, co-author of the Skinny Bitch book series, says that local farmers often don't spray their produce.
Most smaller markets can't afford an official designation as organic, but if concerned, simply ask the farmer.
Her suggestion? Buy local produce when in season, and if out of season, buy the "Dirty Dozen" organic.
- 12 Foods You Should Always Buy Organic (The Daily Meal)
- How to save on organic foods (The Globe and Mail)