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When to eat organic

Posted on 1st June 2010 in Industry News, Insight
Written by: Jen Dugdale

There has been much confusion over the past few months regarding whether paying extra for organic food is actually worth it. Does organic food provide health benefits that non-organic food doesn’t? Are the pesticides and other such chemicals used on non-organic foods a health risk? Food and Drink Europe reported last week (26.05.10) that, as yet, there is very little evidence to suggest that organic food is healthier than non-organic. On the other hand the article does state that more research is needed to be able to state this with confidence.

Perhaps not the most likely source of nutrition information, an article in the June edition of Glamour magazine (p.50), gives a helpful guide which advises when to go organic and when non-organic will do just fine. The article draws on information published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) which states that some foods absorb more pesticides than others and these are the products that need to be bought organic in order to avoid ingesting too many nasty chemicals. Labelled the ‘Dirty Dozen’ the following foods absorb the most pesticides and are therefore worth the extra expense of buying organic: peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots, pears and cherries. Conversely, the ‘Clean 15’ are fine to be bought non-organic: Onions, avocados, sweetcorn, pineapples, mangoes, asparagus, peas, kiwi fruit, aubergines, papayas, watermelons, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and cabbage. According to the EWG sticking to this list will reduce your pesticide exposure by an impressive 80%.