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Which Foods NEED to be Organic?
Confused about when you really need to spend money on Organic food? We sure were! Here is what we've found:

1. Buy Some Organic Fruits & Vegetables
  • Thin-skinned Produce & Leafy Greens should usually be Organic as it is nearly impossible to remove pesticides before eating them
  • Thicker-skinned Produce has a better barrier to pesticides, and you often remove the skin before eating, so conventional produce is fine
  • Wash all produce before eating or peeling as pesticides can linger on your skin

Buy Organic, Be Safe
Highest levels of pesticides*
  • Apples
  • Bell Peppers
  • Berries: Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Grapes (If Imported)
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
Buy Conventional, Save $
Lowest levels of pesticides*
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Melons
  • Onion
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Squash
  • Sweet Peas
  • Tomatoes
2. Organic Milk & Other Dairy Products
  • Buy Organic if you can. Not all the synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides in conventional milk production are washed out before we drink it.
  • Organic milk has significantly higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and has been shown to reduce allergies, asthma and eczema due to higher concentrations of linoleic acids.

3. Organic Eggs
  • “USDA Organic” eggs’ hens are uncaged, have outdoor access, and have a diet free of animal byproducts, pesticides, genetic engineering and sewage sludge.
  • Note that “Free Range” eggs’ hens have outdoor access, but there are no standards for what ‘outdoors’ means (a concrete slab could do) or how long they spend outdoors. There are also no restrictions on Free Range diet, hormones or antibiotics.
  • Therefore “Organic” eggs are considered healthier than “Free Range”

4. Organic Meat & Poultry, if you can
  • If you can find it and afford it, Organic is best
  • USDA Certified Organic meat and poultry can come only from animals fed organic feed and given no hormones, antibiotics, or ground-up animal parts.
  • Grass-Fed Cattle are fed their natural diet of grass instead of corn, which results in meat that is leaner, lower in fat and calories, higher in antioxidants and omega-3s
  • When Organic isn’t available or affordable, look for labels that say No Hormones and/or No Antibiotics. These are often less expensive than organic meat. Note that these labels are not regulated by USDA.

5. Fish
  • USDA has no guidelines for certifying organic seafood
  • Seafood contaminants include metals (such as mercury, which affects brain function and development), industrial chemicals (PCBs and dioxins) and pesticides (DDT).
  • Minimize risks by choosing seafood carefully. 
  • How much Tuna can you safely eat? Check the Tuna Calculator
  • Download your regional guide to safe Seafood and Sushi at

Download the above information here

Note our Grocery Lists are now updated and Organic foods are marked with an *

Sources: Environmental Working Group,,,, The New York Times, USDA, Seafood Watch, *Source for Pesticide Levels is: FoodNews.Org

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