Not all manufactures are created equal. There are both organic and conventionally grown or non-organic fruits and vegetables. Organic, which means free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, is more expensive because it is more labor intensive to grow. Conventionally grown produce is cheaper and more accessible for families on a budget. But there are certain factors to consider when deciding where fresh produce to buy.
Some conventionally grown vegetables will retain more of pesticides and chemicals than others. There are twelve particular, known as the Dirty Dozen, which is notorious for having the most toxic residue. These are vegetables that you want to buy organic if possible. There are also twelve fruits and vegetables as the Environmental Working Group lists that probably has the least pesticide residues
Keep a list of the dirty dozen and the cleanest vegetables with you when shopping. The Dirty Dozen, or fruits and vegetables most likely to have high levels of residues of pesticides: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes.
The twelve cleanest or most likely to have the smallest remnants of pesticides are: papaya, broccoli, cabbage, bananas, kiwi, frozen peas, asparagus, mango, pineapple, frozen corn, avocado and onion.
Know the terminology. Organic fruit and vegetables are grown by certified organic farmers who have been inspected and approved by USDA. All natural fruits and vegetables are conventionally grown by farmers who use pesticides and fertilizers containing compounds, that while they may be “natural” items can still be toxic and harmful. This is particularly useful to know when buying processed (canned, frozen and dried) fruit and vegetables.
Buying produce in season, and food that has been locally grown is the safest way to go, and environmentally friendly. Buying food from local farmers markets are often fresher and more wholesome than the same produce in a supermarket.