Organic vs Non-Organic – Is One Really Better?

Organic food, organic produce, which is better

Full disclosure – organic food is not completely free from pesticides. There are certain natural, and a few synthetic, pesticides approved for organic farming. These substances are typically much lower in toxicity and are often derived from naturally occurring matter. Pesticides approved for use in organic farming include neem oil and pyrethrin, both which are derived from plants. A few synthetic chemicals allowed include copper sulfate, alcohol, chlorine products, hydrogen peroxide and soap.

The Dirty Dozen list consists of the top 12 foods that were contaminated with more pesticides than other crops, according analysis of USDA data. When purchasing produce at your local grocery store, it’s recommended to purchase organic in these areas if nowhere else. The 2021 list includes:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale, collard and mustard greens
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Bell and hot peppers
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes

The Clean 15 list includes produce that had the least amount of pesticides. When purchasing non-organic produce, these options tend to have the lowest amount of residue. The 2021 list consists of:

  • Avocados
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Eggplant
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Kiwi
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Cantaloupe

Something to be aware of – just because a packaged food product says it’s organic doesn’t make it healthy. Food manufacturers like to play on the latest trends to sell more processed food to consumers. A box of cookies is still a box of cookies, organic or not.

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