Summer’s here. It’s hot, and all I want to eat is fruit and cold veggies.
However, after reading about the amount of pesticide residues on certain types of produce, I’m thinking of buying more of the organic kind. At least on the items on which the most pesticide residue has been found.
The Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization, compiles a yearly list of produce with the most pesticide residues, which it calls “The Dirty Dozen” (see related box). And yep, this year’s list includes several of my favorites.
I did a spot check Wednesday and Thursday on Tucson prices of the organic versions of some of the produce on The Dirty Dozen list. The price is quite a bit higher on organic varieties. And grocery stores from the same chain often have different varieties, depending on location. For example, the Fry’s at East Speedway and North Pantano Road had a much larger organic section than the Fry’s at East 22nd Street and South Kolb Road.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to buy all organic to be healthy. In fact, if you’re on a tight budget, it might be hard to do that. The Environmental Working Group also put out a list of “The Clean Fifteen,” which are the items it says have the lowest amounts of pesticide residue (also listed in a box with this article).
So, mix it up. Get the organic versions of the stuff you eat the most of from the Dirty Dozen, and get non-organic varieties from The Clean Fifteen. As a general guideline, produce with a thick skin that you peel before you eat is safer and less likely to be contaminated from pesticides.
In my survey of organic produce, not all of the stores carried every item on my list; those items are marked “n/a.” Likewise, I substituted similar items, such as Albertsons and Trader Joe’s had organic gala apples, instead of red delicious.
Prices were adjusted to reflect a common size. For example, Fry’s sold a three-pound bag of russet potatoes, so the price was adjusted to reflect the cost per pound.