Monday, December 17, 2012

The Dirty Dozen

Growing up my parents would regularly switch back and forth between buying organic and conventional produce.  When I went to college I bought conventional produce because of the cheaper price and also the lack of understanding the differences.  I've started to come up with a system (that is always evolving) as to what produce to buy in the organic form and which to buy in the conventional form.  If I could I would always get everything in organic but that isn't always possible because of availability and/or price. Our grocery store has a decent Organic Produce section but sometimes I can't convince myself to pay over $4 for a single red pepper. From what I've seen there isn't as much interest in organic produce as there is in other parts of the country.

So to get back to the system I use...The EWG, Environmental Working Group, has the mission of using the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.  Every year they publish a list called The Dirty Dozen, which is accompanied by The Clean Fifteen. 

The Dirty Dozen is a list of 12 fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticides when samples were taken in multiple grocery stores.  The Clean Fifteen are 15 fruits and vegetables that have the least amount of pesticides.  

I have an app on my ipod which gives me easy access to both lists.  When I'm at the grocery store I take an inventory of the produce on my list for that week and decide which ones I want to try to buy from the organic section (which should have less pesticides to no) and which from the conventional section. 

For example if I have apples and avocados on my grocery list I will buy organic apples and conventional avocados.  Apples are at the top of the Dirty Dozen list so I always buy organic ones.

Here is a link to the EWG's page that will lead you to the apps for your phone or ipod. You can also print out a paper copy of the list.       

Reader Feedback: How do you decide what produce to buy organic or conventional? Have you heard of the Dirty Dozen before you read about it on here? (You can posts comments here without logging into a page and they are left as anonymous. I really appreciate all the feedback.) 

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