When to Buy Organic Produce

Besides my own garden, I don’t purchase organic produce because I’m never sure what organic produce is worth the increased cost (I’m a pretty frugal shopper).  I have read many articles about this topic, including one article that said if the produce has a thick skin then it is lower in pesticide residue.  However, that doesn’t seem to be 100% accurate.

This weekend I was reading my local paper and finally located what I feel to be a credible source, The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides (http://www.foodnews.org/fulllist.php).  It ranks pesticide contamination for 47 popular fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of 87,000 tests conducted from 2000 to 2007 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. The tests where conducted after the produce had been rinsed or peeled.

Peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines and strawberries contain the most pesticides.  Therefore, these fruits and veggies would be worthwhile to purchase organic.  On the other hand onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mangoes and asparagus have the lowest pesticide residue, and it makes sense to stick to non-organic from a cost standpoint.

Certainly there are other reasons than just consuming pesticide residue to purchase organic foods, like the fact that conventional farming produces run-off that contains excess nitrogen, heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides.  But for most consumers like me, our decisions are typically based on price.  It is worthwhile for me to do my due diligence and discover what organic produce is worth splurging on because it is truly better for my family and me.

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