When to opt for organic

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Every time we go to buy food, we’re faced with the choice of whether or not to buy organic. The USDA’s National Organic Program requires food labeled as organic be free of chemicals, pesticides, sewage, sludge, and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and that the food be produced in a way that promotes ecological balance and conservation of biodiversity.

Sounds good, right? But buying all organic can get expensive, and it’s hard to determine which foods you should buy organic and which ones are OK to buy as regular produce. The Environmental Working Group releases a list each year of pesticide concentrations in produce. The 2014 list came out this past May.

If you want to avoid eating produce with a side of pesticides but can’t afford to buy 100 percent organic, the 12 fruits and vegetables you should always buy organic are: apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, nectarines (imported), cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas (imported), and potatoes.

The 12 fruits and vegetables you don’t have to worry about buying organic are grapefruit, eggplant, kiwi, papyrus, mango, asparagus, onion, sweet peas frozen, cabbage, pineapple, sweet corn, and avocado.

You can find the full list with breakdowns of pesticides on the Environmental Working Group site.

If you are buying from a local farmer, though, remember that many farms can’t afford the application processing for organic but still grow their food using organic practices. Always remember to talk to the person producing the food, if at all possible, to learn the growing history of their products/produce.

Originally published by Associa Living.

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