Frugal Friday – Should you buy ’organic’?


Research suggests that it may not be worth it to pay the extra money for organically grown varieties of the produce listed on the "Clean 15."

The report suggests you may safety buy the conventionally grown varieties of the Clean 15.

A non-profit consumer organization known as the Environmental Working Group



analyzed pesticide test data gleaned from nearly 100,000 reports conducted by the US Department of Agriculture and the US Food and Drug Administration.   From that data they identified the 15 cleanest fruits and vegetables, which they call the “Clean 15.”  In order, they are:

1. Onions
2. Avocados
3. Sweet Corn
4. Pineapple
5. Mangoes
6. Sweet Peas
7. Asparagus
8. Kiwis
9. Cabbage
10. Eggplant
11. Cantaloupe
12. Watermelon
13. Grapefruit
14. Sweet Potatoes
15. Honeydew Melons

The take-away here is that for those who worry about pesticides on their fruits and veggies, but are trying to stay within the bounds of a tight grocery budget, it makes little sense to pay the extra money for the organically grown varieties listed above.

Instead, buy the conventionally grown varieties and make sure you wash them well.  That will free up your money to buy organic produce with the highest pesticide loads that EWG has identified from their “Dirty Dozen” list.  Those 12 items are, in order: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, collard greens, potatoes, and imported grapes.

One thought on “Frugal Friday – Should you buy ’organic’?

  1. While it’s certainly best to choose organics from the dirty list if you must make choices, one should keep in mind that residue is not the only (or
    maybe even the main) reason to buy organic. Pesticides get into our groundwater and general environment and are harmful to all living things, ourselves included. Even products that some claim are “nutritionally equivalent” between organic and conventional and those without remarkable residues may have contributed to poison in our water, air, and soil during their production. The higher the volume of organics purchased, the higher the volume produced and therefore the lower the price. It’s a shame that only the more wealthy can afford all-organic.

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