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Organic Food: Health or Hype?

According to a 2013 study by the USDA, these items – known as the “Dirty Dozen” have the highest concentrations of pesticides, even after thoroughly washing. Purchasing organic versions of these items is more important, especially if you consume them frequently:

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Spinach and other leafy greens
  • Sweet bell peppers and hot peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Summer squash and zucchini


But take heart, there are also many options that the USDA has deemed “clean”. These items have the lowest levels of pesticides, and conventionally grown varieties are generally considered safe:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet peas


Note that the levels of pesticides vary from year to year, so always check the current USDA listing for updated information.

And for a “clean” and healthy autumn meal that can be made with conventionally grown produce, try the delicious recipe in the right column.

This article first appeared in the October 2013 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.

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