Organic Foods: The Most & The Least Contaminated Foods
The below provides a general overview on this topic and may not apply to everyone. Any treatment protocol should be discussed with a qualified healthcare practitioner ... Please refer to: Medical & Legal Disclaimer.
Ways to Minimize Pesticides:
Ways to Minimize Growth Hormones and Antibiotic Residues in Meats:
Ways to Minimize Mercury in your Diet:
Even small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can adversely affect us, especially during vulnerable periods of fetal development and childhood when exposures can have long lasting effects.
- Because of the potential toxic effects of pesticides, shoppers are wise to minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible.
Buying organic can be expensive and we may have to make choices to focus on eliminating those foods with the highest amounts of pesticides, chemicals, additives and hormones.
Listed below are the least and the most contaminated food items, to allow you to make educated choices.
- Additional Resource: Download the Safe Produce Shopping Guide on this webpage. (Only provides safety ratings on produce, not the other food items listed below - but it's a great resource for the shopper to have at the store.)
The Least Contaminated Foods
The following food items are the least contaminated food items that you don't need to purchase organic.
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Kiwi Fruit
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
The Most Contamined Foods
The following food items are the most contaminated food items that you should always buy organic.
"Organic meat" means that the animals have been raised without the use of growth factors, antibiotics and steroids. They are also fed on natural, pesticide-free grass. This type of meat is also called "free range". You can see the same wording on organic eggs as well.
- Animals (chicken, pork, cows, etc.) raised for the meat market using traditional methods are generally provided a feed that is grown with the help of pesticides.
- Examples of typical toxins involved include pesticides, growth hormones in meat; and antibiotic residues in meat and poultry.
- Whatever toxins the food animals eat may end up in you.
The fat in dairy products is another haven for pesticides, antibiotics and bovine growth hormones. These get passed on to you through commercial milk, cheese, and butter. Organic dairies do not use chemicals or growth hormones like rGBH or rbST.
Many of the beans you buy are grown in countries that don't regulate the use of chemicals and pesticides. Look for the Fair Trade Certified label on the coffee package or can; it will give you some assurance that chemicals and pesticides were not used on the plants. It will also mean that fair prices were paid for the end product in support of the farm that supplied the coffee, and that the farm workers are treated fairly.
Peaches & Nectarines:
Forty-five different pesticides are regularly applied to these delicately skinned fruits in conventional orchards.
Scrubbing and peeling a fruit doesn't eliminate chemical residue completely so it's best to buy organic when it comes to apples. Organic apples taste sweeter than conventionally grown, too.
Sweet Bell Peppers
Peppers have thin skins that don't offer much of a barrier to pesticides. They are one of the most heavily sprayed vegetables out there and may be coated with nearly 40 commonly used pesticides meant to keep them insect-free.
Celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the twenty-nine different chemicals that are used on conventional crops.
Strawberries, Blueberries, Cherries
Strawberry plantations average a dose of up to 500 pounds of pesticides per acre. If you buy strawberries out of season, they're most likely imported from countries that use less-than-stringent regulations for pesticide use.
Lettuce / Spinach
Leafy greens are frequently contaminated with the most potent pesticides used on food.
Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically. Vineyards can be sprayed with 35 different pesticides during different growth periods during the season and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape's permeable thin skin.
Potatoes rank highest for pesticide residue and it may also be tainted by fungicides added to the soil for growing.
Their easily punctured skins are no match for chemicals that will eventually permeate the whole tomato.
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