By definition, organic produce refers to fruits and vegetables grown without the use of most synthetic pesticides.
If you’d like to buy organic food but find it’s too expensive, you can prioritize by buying organic versions of the Dirty Dozen – 12 fruits and vegetables found to have the highest levels of pesticide residue.
The list is updated each year by the nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) using the latest test results from the United States Department of Agriculture. Foods are listed in order, beginning with produce with the most pesticide residue:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
Or check out the complete list of all the fruits and vegetables tested, in order from the most to the least pesticide contamination.
EWG also lists the Clean Fifteen – the fruits and vegetables least likely to have traces of pesticides. Top foods on this list include avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, and frozen sweet peas.
These lists can guide your food shopping: You might want to splurge on organic versions of foods that are higher in pesticide residues, especially if your family eats them often, but save money by buying conventionally grown produce that’s lower in pesticides.
Keep in mind that it’s much better to eat conventionally grown produce than to skip it altogether to avoid pesticides. Fruits and vegetables have nutrients and health benefits everyone needs, especially pregnant women and children.
You can minimize pesticide exposure by washing or peeling your fruits and veggies before eating them. This also helps get rid of bacteria and other organisms that could cause food poisoning. Stay tuned for more about pesticides in your child’s food and what you can do to avoid them.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]