Many people are confused about whether its worth buying organic or not and whether there is even much of a difference between non-organic and organic fresh produce.

This post provides a fresh perspective with a list of produce that should always be bought organic and produce that need not be organic.

There are 2 categories of fresh produce on the market, Organic and Conventional. Organic is usually marked ‘Organic’ and everything else is considered Conventional.

The Organic stamp on a fruit or vegetable tells us that this produce has not been grown with excessive synthetic pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, synthetic fertilizers and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The focus is on natural processes, minimal soil erosion and a focus on enhancing the nutritive value of the produce.

Now let’s talk about everything else that is considered ‘Conventional’. Conventional used to be the farmer growing crops with seeds saved from previous year’s crops and then using natural pesticides or a minimal amount of chemicals to protect the crop from insects. Some of the produce in our grocery stores is still farmed this way however we are not able to tell as there is no method of distinguishing it from the toxic Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

“A GMO, or genetically modified organism, is a plant, animal, microorganism or other organism whose genetic makeup has been modified in a laboratory using genetic engineering or transgenic technology. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods”. https://www.nongmoproject.org/gmo-facts/what-is-gmo/

So, as you can see these seeds are not from last year’s crop but rather manufactured in a lab! Additionally, these seeds require higher usage of herbicides and pesticides. In North America Over 200 million acres today are planted with GMO seeds and since no labelling is required in Canada or US there is no way for the consumer to walk into a grocery store and determine if the fresh produce they are purchasing for their family is manufactured in the laboratory or not!

So, what now?

The ‘Environment Working Group’ (EWG) has highlighted a list of fresh produce that should only be bought Organic and those that may be picked from the Conventional aisles.

For more in-depth information go to https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php#.WrxF5UxFxZV where you can also get a WALLET GUIDE of the above mentioned lists.

THE DIRTY DOZEN list highlights foods that should always be organic as the conventional variety of the same food is heavily laden with pesticides, fungicides and even insecticides. The list is as follows:

Apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, grapes, spinach, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, pears and cherries. Some other items that should be added to this list are: hot peppers, cucumbers, summer squash and kale.

The CLEAN 15 list highlights foods that do not have to be organic as their pesticide load is very low  and if they are cooked before consumption it reduces further. The list is as follows:

Onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocadoes, cabbage, sweet peas, mangoes, asparagus, eggplant, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapefruit, papaya, honeydew and cauliflower.

While organic is slightly more expensive (because the farmer requires special certification and is not subsidized by the government), it helps keep chemicals, pesticides and genetically engineered foods out of our family’s health. Additionally, organic also supports bio diversity, protects the quality of our soil (which is where some essential nutrients come from), protects our water quality and supports our farmers.

For more in-depth information go to https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php#.WrxF5UxFxZV where you can also get a WALLET GUIDE of the above mentioned lists.

A win-win if you ask me!

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