Dirty Dozen

Here’s a list of the top 12 foods that have the highest rate of retention of pesticides and other residual chemicals according to the USDA. It’s listed from highest levels first:

1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Bell Peppers (capsicum for you Kiwis and Aussies)
4. Celery (I knew there was a reason to hate celery)
5. Nectarines (pretty much all stoned fruit will retain a lot of the nasties)
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Lettuce
9. Grapes (imported; domestic are OK)
10. Pears
11. Spinach
12. Potatoes

In general, if you are going to spend money on buying organic foods but don’t want to break your bank account, these would be the ones you would want to spend it on the most, as well as dairy (and on free-range eggs because consider the poor chickens, if you will).  Lots of these you can grow in your own garden anyway.
Other veggies to play the organic/homegrown card on include:

beets
carrots (apparently carrots are used as throw-away crops to soak up all the chemicals and gross stuff out of the ground, kind of like a vegetable roomba, as it were)
all leafy greens
cucumbers
green beans
winter squash
almonds
peanuts
pecans
soy
berries (except blueberries)
butter
cheese
eggs
milk
yogurt

Interestingly, things like broccoli and cauliflower don’t respond well to pesticide use so little is used. Other things that you can eat safely include:

asparagus
avocados
Brussel sprouts
cabbage
sweet corn
eggplant
rhubarb
sweet potatoes
tomatoes
zukes
bananas
watermelon

From Vegetarian Times September 2008 and adapted for that article from To Buy or Not to Buy Organic by Cindy Burke.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Emily
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 13:25:57

    Oh good. We’re really into bananas and avocados right now so I think we’re safe. I’m so glad I got some berry bushes and my veggies are starting to sprout! Now to work on the man for an apple and peach tree. 🙂 I should be set after that!

    Reply

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