News 4 at 4

Jun 21, 2012 8:09 PM

Smart Choices: What Should You Buy Organic?

TUCSON - With summer here, we see an abundance of veggies and fruits in the markets. But what should you buy organic?

Today on News 4 Tucson at 4 p.m., our nutrition contributor, Hana Feeney, stopped by with her thoughts on organic shopping. Here's the information she provided on today's "Smart Choices":

Visit to find a complete listing of foods to purchase organic. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created the Shopper's Guide to Pesticide in Produce to help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You will reduce your pesticide intake by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, The Dirty Dozen, or by buying organic vegetables and fruits.

The EWG also lists the Clean 15, which are the vegetables and fruits that are lowest in pesticide residue.

According to the EWG, you can lower the volume of pesticide that you consume daily by up to 92% if you choose organic for the Dirty Dozen or stick to the Clean 15.

The Environmental Working Group is not determining the health risk of eating produce that is contaminated with pesticides, they are working to inform you about the produce that contains pesticide residue so that you can make informed choices when grocery shopping.

Your goal is to choose "organic" of the most highly contaminated produce in order to minimize your exposure to pesticides, or replace these produce with vegetables and fruit from the Clean 15 list. Fresh and frozen are best; frozen vegetables and fruits are an economical and resourceful way to eat organic produce year-round.

Dirty Dozen Plus (highest in pesticide residue, prioritize purchasing organic or emphasize other produce options):

• Apples
• Celery
• Sweet bell peppers
• Peaches
• Strawberries
• Nectarines, imported
• Grapes
• Spinach
• Lettuce
• Cucumbers
• Blueberries, domestic
• Potatoes
• Green beans
• Kale and collard greens

Clean 15 (lowest is pesticide residue, okay if not organic all the time):

• Onions
• Sweet corn (but is often genetically modified)
• Pineapple
• Avocado
• Cabbage
• Sweet peas
• Asparagus
• Mango
• Eggplant
• Kiwi
• Cantaloupe, domestic
• Sweet potatoes (but are one of the crops with the highest pesticide use per acre, making conventional farming of sweet potatoes hard on our environment and water supply)
• Grapefruit
• Watermelon
• Mushrooms

Eat your fruits and veggies and go to for tasty recipes and information.


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