Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Organic or Conventional

Late last February, as early spring vegetables began to appear at the market, I posted a list of produce that consumers are advised to purchase organic plus conventionally grown produce that's safe to consume.

Since my posts over the last few weeks have featured lots of seasonal vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds, it seems like a good time to revisit that list (see below).

I sourced the list from the Vegetarian Times; another great resource is Food News which offers an extensive list of fruits and vegetables containing pesticides.

Also, I noticed the March issue of O Magazine has a two-page spread titled "Are Organics Worth Their Price?" Written by Nina Planck who also wrote Real Food, you'll probably come away from the article feeling as though your health is definitely worth buying all organic.

However, if that's simply not within your budget, consider the list of conventionally grown produce that's safe to buy, but at the same time, do your best to buy those items listed under "Buy Organic."

Feel free to print this list out.

Buy organic:

Beets (thin-skinned veggies that grow underground absorb pesticides and heavy metals)

Bell peppers (all colors – conventionally grown are likely to contain multiple pesticide residues)

Carrots (are good at absorbing heavy metals from the soil)

Celery (most likely to contain pesticide residues)

Leafy greens i.e. lettuces, chard, collard greens, spinach (are grown low to the ground and are thus likely to have high pesticide residue levels)

Cucumbers (highly toxic pesticides are used on conventionally grown cucumbers)

Green beans (conventionally grown are sprayed multiply times with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides)

Potatoes (especially russets are highly likely to contain pesticide residues)

Winter squash (mild pesticides used, conventionally grown are acceptable if you don’t eat the skin)

Almonds (toxic pesticides and herbicides used on almond trees)

Peanuts (peanuts grow underground and are known to absorb toxins from the soil)

Pecans (pecan trees tend to be sprayed frequently with pesticides, herbicides and miticides)

Okay to buy Conventional:

Asparagus (does not appeal to many pests and so rarely treated with pesticides)

Avocados (low pesticide residues and a thick skin make the conventionally grown okay)

Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage (pesticides don’t work well on these veggies thus few are used on them)

Sweet Corn (though it may be sprayed with herbicides and some pesticides, it almost never contains pesticide residue, but buy local)

Eggplant (selectively sprayed with minimally toxic pesticides thus it rarely contains pesticides residue)

Garlic (has natural pest control and is rarely sprayed)

Onions all varieties (like garlic has natural pest control and thus minimally sprayed)

Rhubarb (rarely sprayed)

Sweet potatoes (pesticides are used sparingly on these)

Tomatoes (buy local)

Zucchini (doesn’t tolerate pesticides/herbicides)

Dried Beans (beans are sprayed with insecticides but are then soaked and washed and boiled so residues are likely removed – buy local)

Cashews (are grown in tropical locales where pesticides are rarely used)

Macadamia nuts (few pesticides are used on macs)

Sesame seeds (organic is better but pesticide residues are minor in non-organic sesame products)

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