organic/non organic fruit and veg

I am pretty passionate about reducing the amount of chemicals in my families life. Unfortunately chemicals are a part of out lives and we can't remove them all, but there are ways to reduce our intake. There are ways to reduce the amount of chemicals we eat on fruit and veg by making informed choices, without breaking the bank and buying all organic. The environmental working groups puts out 2 lists one for the dirty dozen and one for the clean 15.

ewg.org/foodnews/clean_fift...

ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_doze...

Myself, I generally choose foods from the clean 15 and if i need any on the other list, then i spend a bit more and buy organic. My spinach is 30 p per expensive than non organic.

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7 Replies

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  • Hi pilatesrocks , thanks for this. Just wondering if you have anything similar for Europe? As you know we don't have any GM on this side of the pond and some of the practices in the USA are banned in the EU so maybe the list looks a bit different?

  • A couple of caveats for me - firstly, thats USA and we have different rules in the UK for pesticide use, and use of GM. Secondly, I personally have a thing about food miles and I've rather eat spinach grown down the road than an out of season avocado shipped in from goodness knows where.

  • Yes, it is true that the regulations are different in the US and the EU. I work on the basis that some fruits and veggies are more likely to be attacked by pests so they will need pesticides to be grown in larger quantities and cheaper, so i use the list as a starting point.i certainly like to buy local too. It is much better. knowing what fruits and veggies contain pesticides then you can make a choice whether to go to the organic farmer down the road or a non organic. Here is a link to a very interesting document - describes the chemicals used and there side effects which plants they are used on and also international chemical residue limits. davidsuzuki.org/publication...

  • Yes it is true that certain things get attacked more than others. I grow about 2/3 of whats on both lists. However, some I find surprising and would want to know more details and the sources of info before finding it a trustworthy list. For example, spinach is pretty much foolproof and grows hassle free and very productively all year round - I have no idea what you'd want to put on that. And some of the plants on the 'good' list have definite pests which are actually named after them - for example, pea moth, onion fly and asparagus beetle, which I can't believe a commercial grower wouldn't deal with. I agree that soft fruits have lots of pests though, my strawberries are often full of woodlice who burrow their way in!

    Just an idea for a cheaper solution to organic - our local greengrocer buys excess from our allotments to sell - not officially organic of course, but not far off!

    Its good to think about - thanks for sharing the lists.

  • It's good to bounce ideas around because the food system is very complicated these days. I am always learning and have learnt a lot just from this post. I wish I had the time and ability to grow my own produce. So as a grower, what items would not need chemical. I guess I asking what food could I buy at the market knowing that they are least likely to have been chemicaled? I get quite worried because my dad had a small holding many years ago now, but for some reason he used loads of chemicals and it worries me that I don't know what's been put on things , when I buy from a market as when I buy something labelled organic then I feel more certain.

  • I think unless organic most farmers use either herbicide or pesticide for any crop. The problem is the scale of our farms I think, and the mono-culture environment. Although, the counter-balance of that, is that at least large farms are regulated in pesticide/herbicide use, whereas small holders like your dad and allotment holders like me are not.

    It worries me too. I think your lists are a good place to start looking at the problem, but maybe make your own rather than take them as a given because I'm not sure how accurate they are. If you use markets and greengrocers rather than a supermarket you could talk to the owners abut their sources?

  • Thanks for this information pilatesrocks

    I grow my own spinach either in the ground or pots, it's so amazingly easy. No air miles and no chemicals. :) Organic milk is something I won't compromise with either. It's really only a few pence more and worth every penny.

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