A Bushel Of Apples - iStock

When To Go Organic & When Not To Bother

 The experts at Licious Living share their list of the “cleanest” and “dirtiest” fruits and veggies in your supermarket.

A Bushel Of Apples - iStock


GOOD TO KNOW | “Should I buy organic or is it just a waste of my money? I get this question a lot,” says Deanna Embury, who, with co-founder Katie Rodgers, operates Licious Living, a healthy eating company that supplies Vancouverites and Torontonians with super-tasty home-delivered meals plus operates wallet-friendly cafés in British Columbia and Alberta.

“At Licious Living we’re big advocates of eating a lot of fruits and veggies,” Embury says, citing the Environmental Working Group as the inspiration for their dirty/clean roundup. Every year the EWG, an environmental advocacy organization that focuses on research and data collection, publishes a review of the 54 worst-to-best fruits and vegetables for pesticide content. Embury says Licious Living’s list is drawn from this one and based on foods North Americans commonly buy.

Licious Living’s Dirty Dozen

If you are going to splurge on organics, go for the dozen fruits and vegetables that ordinarily have the highest level of pesticides. These foods have permeable or edible skins and/or are conventionally grown with higher amounts of pesticides.

Cherry tomatoes (imported)
Snap peas (imported)
Spinach, lettuces and greens
Sweet Bell Peppers

Licious Living’s Clean 13

The Clean 13 rank among the most pesticide-free of all produce, even when conventionally grown. Save money by opting for the non-organic version of these:

Peas (frozen)
Sweet potatoes
Watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe
Winter squash

For more on Licious Living, a company that “takes the hard part out of eating healthy,” visit www.liciousliving.com. Those wanting more info on pesticides in food should check out Environmental Working Group’s annual review on www.ewg.org

Photo: iStock

2 replies
  1. Bobbie
    Bobbie says:

    This list doesn’t quite match the 2011 list on EWG’s website. They have 15 clean fruits and veggies. I have used this list for years to help me shop. Their lists are ordered by the best produce, and the worst produce, not alphabetically. My other concern is that EWG is an American organization, and I’m unclear on how the produce compares to Canadian fruits and veggies. But great to promote healthy shopping and eating!

    • carolannrule
      carolannrule says:

      Hi Bobbie,
      Thanks so much for your comments. Alphabetizing was an editorial conceit, so was limiting the number of fruits and veggies (maybe not the smartest way to present this material). Readers should definitely check out the EWG’s website— and you’re so right, it really is too bad there is no Canadian equivalent. —eds


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