Which organic fruits and vegetables should we buy?
This is the question asked by one of our members who is concerned about the presence of pesticides in fruits and vegetables. My reply below is taken from the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides (PDF), published by the American organization Environmental Working Group, which has prepared this guide based on chemical tests carried out by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
According to the guide, it is not necessary to buy organic versions of the following products:
- Aubergines, avocados, cantaloupes, honeydew melons, kiwis, mangoes, peas, pineapple, sweet corn, and watermelon because we don’t eat the outer covering, which is where pesticide residues get concentrated;
- Onion and sweet potatoes, because they have sufficient natural defenses for growing well with little or no pesticides;
- Asparagus, because it grows in early springtime before the arrival of insects, thereby requiring little or no pesticides;
- Cabbage, because pesticides are concentrated on the outer leaves, which are removed before landing up on the supermarket shelves.
However, it is better to buy organic versions of the following products:
- Celery harvested in autumn and winter, because it requires plenty of chemicals for countering bacterial and fungal diseases;
- Apples, blueberries, cherries, nectarines, peaches, strawberries, because insects love them as much as we do, and so these fruits have to be sprayed with pesticides;
- Curly kale, peppers, potatoes, spinach, because they are treated with pesticides during the entire period of their growth;
- Grapes, because they are vulnerable to fungal diseases during transport. As a result, the farther they have travelled, the more they have been treated!
Read the complete Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides (PDF).