Organic Produce, Is it Worth the Extra Money?


These days, it seems that every where we turn, we come across food that is organic. Sales of organic produce has risen 30% since 1990. Organic advocates contend that the extra cost buys them produce that has less synthetic pesticide residue and is more nutritious, better tasting and more environmentally friendly.

The difference between organic produce and conventional produce is the way it is grown, handled and processed. Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without the use of ionizing radiation, genetic engineering, sewage sludge fertilizers, and most conventional pesticides.

Be careful when choosing an item marked “natural”. Being marked “natural” has nothing to do with the way the item was grown, processed or handled and just means that there are no artificial ingredients or added colors.

When I became pregnant, I started buying organic produce because I was worried about exposure to pesticides, even though it remains unclear whether the small amounts of pesticide residue found in produce will cause health problems in people over time. I am a worrywart and I only wanted the best for my baby.

With money being an issue for most parents today and most organic produce being more expensive then conventional produce, I decided to do a bit of research to see whether it was necessary to be shelling out the extra bucks for organic.

The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental organization, analyzed more than 100,000 tests that the USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration conducted on pesticide residue in 46 fruits and vegetables between 1992 and 2001. From that analysis, the group came up with the “dirty dozen,” a list of the produce most contaminated with pesticides:

apples

bell peppers

celery

cherries

imported grapes

nectarines

peaches

pears

potatoes

red raspberries

spinach

strawberries

If you eat this produce frequently and are looking to avoid pesticides, you may want to switch to the organic versions of these 12 items.

I will now be saving money by buying conventional bananas.