cat with fruit

Summer is a time to enjoy the bounty of nature in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables.  However, with the increasing research showing the harmful effects of pesticides used on our produce, do you dare to eat a non-organic peach?

Should I Buy Organic Produce?

Not all fruits and vegetables have the same pesticide load.  By shopping wisely and purchasing organic versions of those fruits and vegetable most likely to contain pesticides in their conventional form, you can reduce your risk of ingesting potentially harmful chemicals.

The Best Produce to Buy Organic

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Imported grapes
  • Pears
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Lettuce

The Best Non-organic Produce

The produce least likely to be contaminated by pesticides, and thus safest to buy conventional versions of, includes more vegetables than fruit. Most have skin or a peel that further protects from potential pesticides. Topping the list with least traces of pesticides are:

  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Avocado
  • Mango
  • Kiwi
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple

Use these lists as a guideline and enjoy your fruit and veggies!

Amber doesn’t care for fruits or veggies, but she says she’s heard some kitties actually enjoy them.  Does your cat like fruits or veggies?  Which ones?

4 Comments on Best Produce to Buy Organic

  1. Community Supported Agriculture beats the organic route to food safety. It is a fallacy to think that anything grown without chemicals has to be safe. Consider heavy metals, pathogens, and steroids. They can land up on and inside organic produce. Conversely, fruits and grains grown under chemical plant protection regimes will have no harmful residues if growers observe label directions.

  2. You raise some valid points about when to buy organic. However, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) would caution people against the idea of limiting their organic purchases to the list of items you outline in this blog. While establishing such limits may help to reduce the size of your personal food budget, it misses an important point: buying organic is about more than keeping pesticides out of our bodies. It is about supporting a system of sustainable agricultural management that promotes soil health and fertility through the use of such methods as crop rotation and cover cropping, which nourish plants, foster species diversity, help combat climate change, prevent damage to valuable water resources, and protect farmers and farmers’ families from exposure to harmful chemicals. In this sense, buying organic is a commitment to the bigger, more complex picture of which our personal health is a part.

    OTA would also encourage people to consider that organic offers a range of benefits that non-organic local products do not. Because they are regulated by the federal government, products bearing the organic label must meet a strict set of production/handling guidelines. They must be made without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic engineering. Additionally, they must not undergo irradiation or contain ingredients made from cloned animals. Local products are not held to any such standards, and therefore cannot be counted on to meet any of the aforementioned criteria. And, because the term “local” is itself undefined, no guarantees can be made about whether a product is, indeed, local!

    Organic products are also distinct with respect to traceability. In order to meet federal regulations, careful records must be kept about every phase of organic production. This means that everything from the source of the seeds to the way the products are placed on store shelves must be documented. Moreover, each of these steps must be verifiable by a third party. Local products, by contrast, are neither required to provide such documentation nor to undergo third-party review. As such, no guarantees can be made about where local products come from or how they are handled.

    Does this mean you should abandon buying locally made products? Not at all. Instead, it means you should be thoughtful about the local products you choose to buy. If they are labeled organic, you can feel confident that they have been produced in a manner that not only supports personal and environmental health, but also helps to ensure product integrity from the farm to your family.

  3. Thanks for your comment, Martha. I agree that local produce is the best choice, and I’ve also found that a lot of the farmers that sell at our local markets don’t use pesticides, even though their produce is not considered organic. My understanding is that the process to become certified organic is very costly and not realistic for small farming operations.

    That being siad, it is interesting to me that even local produce sold at stores such as Whole Foods doesn’t taste as good as the produce sold at local farmers markets. I never could figure out why that is.

  4. Once you learn that organic does not necessarily mean that it has not been sprayed with pesticides, you do some more research and then decide. In the end, fresh fruits and veggies, preferably locally grown, are far healthier for you, regardless of the farming practice used, than fast food and corn based processed food. Visit your local farmers market and have a chat with the farmer….then decide. And go see Food Inc. to further learn about the food you eat.

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