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Foods You Should Buy Organic

Some fruits and vegetables are more likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, so are worth buying organic if you’re worried about pesticides in your food.

Of the fruits and vegetables you buy every week, which should you buy organic? Pesticides can be absorbed into fruits and vegetables, and leave trace residues, so choosing organic can limit your exposure. Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, releases a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides that identifies fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide residues.

Eating more fruits and vegetables—organic or not—is better than eating none at all. If buying all organic isn’t a priority—or a financial reality for you—you might opt to buy organic specifically when you’re selecting foods that are most heavily contaminated with pesticide and insecticide residues. EWG’s Dirty Dozen is the list of foods with the highest amount of pesticide residues, so consider buying these fruits and vegetables organic, starting with the most contaminated food.

1. Strawberries
Chocolate-Covered Prosecco Strawberries
Strawberries topped this year’s list of fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides. According to the Environmental Working Group, one-third of all conventional strawberry samples contained 10 or more pesticides (one strawberry sample contained 22 different pesticide residues). If you’re concerned about pesticides, consider buying organic strawberries.

2. Spinach

Balsamic Berry Vinaigrette Spinach Salad
Almost all of the conventional spinach samples (97 percent) contained pesticide residues, including permethrin, a neurotoxic insecticide.

3. Nectarines

Nectarine, Corn & Tomato Relish
Almost all of the conventional nectarine samples (94 percent) contained two or more pesticides.

4. Apples

All-American Apple Pies
A large majority of the conventional apple samples (80 percent) contained diphenylamine, a pesticide that’s banned in Europe.

5. Grapes

Char-Grilled Red Grapes with Burrata, Fennel Seeds & Basil
The conventional grape samples contained an average of five different pesticide residues, with almost all (96 percent) containing some pesticide residues.