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The Toxic 12 Fruit and Vegetables

I love to shop organic whenever I can, but price is often a huge consideration for families. Well, what if I told you that it's easy to choose which organic veggies to buy with one simple list?! This next blog is a guide to the Toxic 12 fruit and veggies, also known as the Dirty Dozen...

Buying organic vegetables and fruit

I love to buy fresh, organic produce for my family as much as possible, but I know I am not the only one out there who wrestles with the cost of organic vs. non-organic fruit and vegetables. Sometimes we have to consider the family budget before choosing organic produce – after all, when the organic option costs almost twice as much as the regular, non-organic version, it really starts to add up. On the other hand, I really want to put my family's health first! It's a constant battle, but I recently found out about an amazing grocery shop trick that can help make choosing organic easier, and save us money on the weekly shopping budget.

According to Australian Organic, around half of organic shoppers say that they choose to purchase organic due to "increased awareness of the impact of food and cosmetics on their personal health." I know that for my family, I prefer to shop organic where and whenever I can but I have often wondered, are there certain fruit and vegetables which are worth spending more on? Surely we don't always need to make sure absolutely everything in our shopping basket is organic – but how do we know which produce is best bought organic?

Well, I recently spoke to Peita Pini, founder and creator of The Swag, who told me all about the "Toxic 12" fruit and vegetables... What on earth is the Toxic 12? Well, it turns out that there are certain fruits and veggies that we should always fork out extra for to buy the organic options (if available!) and everything else can just be purchased as normal.

According to Peita, the Toxic 12 is a list devised by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), who tested and analysed a range of produce samples. They found that strawberries and spinach actually contained the highest amounts of pesticide residue of all! In fact, one sample of strawberries tested positive for 20 different pesticides, and spinach contained almost twice the amount of pesticide residue by weight than any other vegetable or fruit. Also known the "Dirty Dozen", this list provides an easy guide to buying organic – simply choose the organic options of these fruit and veggies wherever possible!

Toxic 12 list
1. Strawberries
2. Spinach
3. Kale
4. Nectarines
5. Apples
6. Grapes
7. Peaches
8. Cherries
9. Pears
10. Tomatoes
11. Celery
12. Potatoes

I also found out from Peita that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed its annual Clean 15 list – according to the EWG, less than 30% of this produce is contaminated with pesticides (based on USDA testing.) This means that, generally speaking, we don't always need to pay more for the organic options of these fruit and veggies – regular is fine!

Clean 15 list
1. Avocados
2. Sweet corn
3. Pineapples
4. Frozen sweet peas
5. Onions
6. Papayas
7. Eggplant
8. Asparagus
9. Kiwis
10. Cabbage
11. Cauliflower
12. Cantaloupe
13. Broccoli
14. Mushrooms
15. Honeydew melons

According to Peita, no matter whether we end up choosing organic or non-organic, we should always give our fresh produce a good wash when we get home from our grocery shop. Rather than a quick rinse under the tap, we should give them a good bath in veggie wash or even apple cider vinegar. Why? Soaking your veggies may help to remove bad bacteria left lurking on food during transport, handling and even being picked up and put back by other shoppers.

Sources: The Swag, Australian Organic.

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