(Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)
Photographer: Joern Pollex/Getty Images
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BALTIMORE - Q: Organic foods are often expensive. Which foods do I need to buy organically?
A: Last year we introduced the Environmental Working Group's Shoppers Guide to Pesticides, the list of most- and least-contaminated produce items to help you decide where to spend your organic-food budget. The group continues to conduct research on contamination levels in popular fruits and veggies. Here's the latest update.
This list was created to help shoppers make informed choices about the produce they buy. Organic produce gets pricey and this type of list can help shoppers decide where their money is best spent (buying organic fruits and veggies when they are in season helps, too).
12 most contaminated items
According to the Environmental Working Group, consumers can lower their consumption of pesticides by four-fifths by avoiding the top 12 most-contaminated items -- celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, kale/collard greens, potatoes and grapes. Buy organic versions of these to avoid the pesticides.
Cleanest produce items
As for produce items with the least amounts of pesticide residues -- aka the "clean 15" -- the top 10 have remained relatively unchanged while numbers 11 through 15 got shaken up. Papaya, broccoli and tomatoes have fallen out of the top 15, while cantaloupe, grapefruit and honeydew melon have joined the list -- onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, mangoes, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potatoes and honeydew melon. You don't need to buy organic versions of these fruits and vegetables.
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