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Spring Clean Your Produce

Springtime is the perfect time to start enjoying cleaner and greener foods, especially fruits and veggies and shopping at farmers markets.  

If you want to really spring-clean your body this spring, look for organic produce, which is produced without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or fertilizers. Organic produce isn’t irradiated or treated with industrial solvents, and it has not been genetically modified. Luckily, when you’re in a grocery store, it’s easy to tell whether or not any given fruit or vegetable is organic or conventional. Just look at the four- or five-digit code that’s on the produce. (It’s usually a small sticker.) Here’s what those codes mean:

  • A four-digit code starting with a 3 or a 4 usually means that the fruit or vegetable has been produced conventionally.
  • A five-digit code starting with an 8 means the fruit or vegetable has been genetically modified.
  • A five-digit code starting with a 9 means the fruit or vegetable is organic.

Of course, not all produce is grown in the same way or sprayed equally, so if you’re trying to choose which fruits and veggies to buy organic, you might want to look at the Environmental Working Group’s new 2018 list of the top-sprayed produce (the Dirty Dozen™) and the least-sprayed produce (the Clean Fifteen™).  It’s worth it to at least buy organic options of the Dirty Dozen to avoid exposing you and your family to excessive pesticides and other synthetic chemicals.

Take these lists to the store with you to help you spring-clean your body!

Dirty Dozen™

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

Clean Fifteen™

  1. Avocado
  2. Sweet corn (note that most corn products contain GMO corn, sweet corn may also be grown from Roundup Ready seeds so best to buy organic to avoid GMOs)
  3. Pineapple
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Sweet frozen peas
  7. Papaya (note that Hawaiian papayas are GMO)
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mango
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honey dew melon
  12. Kiwi
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Broccoli
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