If finding organic food is part of your normal dietary process, you know it’s not always easy and next to impossible if you eat in a restaurant. It also costs more. You may wonder if organic food is really worth and if all the hype is true. First, some studies show that organic food isn’t more nutritious than other conventionally grown food, so why would you spend extra? The Dirty Dozen List and the Clean Fifteen might be one convincing.
What is the Dirty Dozen?
The Dirty Dozen is a list put out every year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit, organization that helps protect health and the environment. They test a lot of things from cosmetics, GMOs and even how much pesticide is in the food we eat. Each year they shop for conventionally grown produce throughout the country and test it for pesticides and other contaminants. Those with the most pesticides found make it to the Dirty Dozen list. Those with the least are on the Clean Fifteen.
Consider buying organic if the fresh fruit or vegetable is on the dirty dozen list.
While you might scrub some of the Dirty Dozen, you won’t get rid of all the pesticides. Some grows into the plant itself. On the dirty dozen list, the worst offenders had multiple pesticide residue. Spinach had two times the pesticide when you considered weight, than any other crop tested. Of the massive number of fruits and vegetables tested, some tested positive for pesticides in over 98 percent of the samples.
Why is this list important?
Not all conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are laden with pesticides and other chemicals. So even if they’re grown organically or conventionally, they’re relatively safe. That means you can save money by buying conventionally grown, often less expensive produce from the Clean 15 list and stick with organic for the Dirty Dozen. The Dirty Dozen includes strawberries in the number one position—the worst, followed by spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, grapes, celery, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes and this year, number 13, hot peppers was added, so it’s actually a baker’s dozen.
- The Clean 15 includes: sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, sweet peas frozen, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit.
- While research shows that organic food may not contain more nutrients, other research shows that it may. That might be to the type of fertilizer used for conventional growing, compared to the nutrient rich compost used in organic growing.
- There’s a lot of talk about GMO foods and their safety. Eating organic foods can avoid worrying about GMOs in your food.
- Some of the food on the Clean Fifteen list may be GMO foods. The EWG noted that a small amount of the papaya, summer squash and sweet corn on the market may be from GMO seeds. You might consider going organic on these foods, too.