I’m amazed I’ve never written about this here before (I did in my book, so maybe that’s why I felt like I’d covered it?): Each year the Environmental Working Group analyzes USDA and FDA data concerning pesticide residue on conventionally-grown produce. Essentially, they crunch a bunch of numbers and figure out which fruits and vegetables are so laden with chemicals that we should always buy organic (or from a farmers’ market, where you can ask about growing practices); those are dubbed the “Dirty Dozen.” The produce that shows the lightest pesticide load becomes the “Clean Fifteen,” which you can buy conventionally without worry.
Last week EWG unveiled their lists for 2012. On my Weight Watchers blog I used it as a jumping-off point to address shopping for organics on a tight freelancers’ budget, and on BabyCenter I talked about a scarier issue if you’ve got a baby: EWG analyzed the stats on pesticide residue in non-organic jarred food, which were tested for the first time ever (and I say: WTF???). Friends, if you’re not buying organic baby food or making your own from the best possible ingredients, you might want to rethink that.
How do you fit organics into your life, and your budget?
This Post Has 6 Comments
To be honest, I don’t buy organic. It’s more expensive. It doesn’t taste any better. I have a hard time in general paying farmer’s market prices because it’s 4x the supermarket price. Except for tomatoes. Nothing beats summer tomatoes.
I totally understand the issue of expense, Stee! For me it’s not so much about the flavor–though I do think fresher food tastes better in general, and organics/farmers market produce usually doesn’t travel as far as conventional. It’s about the pesticides & what they might be doing to Harry’s little body. THAT scares me!
Great article! I make my 10 month olds baby food but if I buy any commercial food it’s always organic! He likes the Plum organics brand a lot. I also have the EWG app on my phone and use it whenever i go to the store.
Thanks, Reynaul! I love Plum Organics too–I wrote a risotto recipe for them a few months ago using one of their pouches. And yes, love the EWG app! I should’ve mentioned it in my post.
Interesting stuff – I don’t usually buy organic (mainly cost and organisation issue) but have been considering it more – and the idea of at least avoiding the “dirty dozen” (or getting them organic) seems more manageable.
A quick question though – I’m in Australia – do you think there would be any striking differences in such a list for Australian produce? Any idea?
That’s a good question, Amanda! I imagine farmers there use different methods/pesticides. The US is just so over-the-top in its usage–I know in Europe things are very different than here. Just did a quick search & found this: http://angelicaorganicfarm.com.au/_blog/DISPATCHES_FROM_THE_FARM/post/EWG's_Dirty_Dozen_Pesticide-ridden_fruit_and_veg!/