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Is Organic Food Worth the Price?

Is organic produce worth the extra cost? Are there really harmful chemicals in the foods we buy at the grocery store?

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit public health group, went through nearly 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and found that common fruits and vegetables we eat are treated with as many as 33-67 different pesticides. Simply washing these foods under the tap does not safely remove this chemical residue. The list that was compiled, of highly contaminated foods, is comprised of fruits and vegetables that were tested after they had been washed with a USDA high-power pressure water system.

Since most of us can't afford, or don't have access to, all organic foods, it's important to know when it's most important to chose organic and when it may not be as critical. You can reduce your exposure to pesticides by as much as 80% if you avoid the most contaminated foods.

For example, if you're eating non-organic celery, you could be consuming 67 different chemicals along with it. Celery is one of the "Dirty Dozen" foods, the most dangerous non-organic fruits and vegetables to eat.

The Dirty Dozen:

  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Bell peppers
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes

The Clean 15: (not necessary to spend the extra money to buy organic)

  • Onions
  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Sweet peas
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Sweet onions

Other foods to consider eating organic are meat, poultry and dairy products. Since these foods have a higher fat content, and toxins are stored in fat cells, it's important to be sure you're eating "clean" animal product foods.

Foods that are labeled organic have certain criteria that they must meet. Knowing these criteria help to give confidence that the food you are consuming will help to enhance your health, not destroy it.

Organic foods must meet these criteria:

Animals have not been treated with: antibiotics, growth hormones, or feed made from animal byproducts.

Animals must have been fed organic feed for at least a year.

Animals must have access to the outdoors.

Food hasn't been genetically modified or irradiated.

Fertilizer does not contain sewage sludge or synthetic ingredients.

Produce hasn't been contaminated with synthetic chemicals used as pesticides.

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