Organic Food: Is Natural Worth the Extra Cost? (cont.)

And which organic produce is probably not worth the added expense? The group lists these 12 items as having the least pesticide residues:

  • Papayas
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Bananas
  • Kiwifruit
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet corn (frozen)
  • Avocados
  • Onions

You can help keep costs down by shopping for sale items, comparing prices, buying locally grown products either at farmers' markets or via a co-op. The sale of organic foods in large grocery store chains is also likely to help keep prices down in the long run.

Reduce Pesticide Residues

Whether or not you buy organic, you can do your part to reduce pesticide residues on foods with the following tips:

  • Wash and scrub produce under streaming water to remove dirt, bacteria and surface pesticide residues, even produce with inedible skins such as cantaloupe. Do not use soap.
  • Remove the peel from fruits and vegetables.
  • Remove the outer leaves of leafy vegetables.
  • Trim visible fat and skin from meat and poultry because pesticide residues can collect in fat.
  • Eat a variety of foods from different sources.
  • Join a co-op farm that supports community agriculture.

Published August 7, 2007.

SOURCES: Keecha Harris, DrPH, spokeswoman, American Dietetic Association. Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, professor of food studies and public health, New York University; author, What to Eat. Lu, C. Environmental Health Perspectives, online edition, Sept. 1, 2005. Consumer Reports, February 2006; vol 71: pp 12-17. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency web site: "Pesticides and Food: How the Government Regulates Pesticides" and "Pesticides and Food: Healthy, Sensible Food Practices." Environmental Working Group web site. National Organic Program web site.

Last Editorial Review: 8/7/2007

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