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12 foods you should always buy organic - plus the ones you don't have to

Reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides by buying these organic foods

organic fruit vegetables
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
April 20, 2020
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Still battling with the classic supermarket conundrum of whether to buy organic or not? Shoppers have long questioned whether it's worth spending more money on foods that have been grown without pesticides, but according to Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK), certain fruits and vegetables are more contaminated than others. So it's time to get picky with your organic produce!

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While the majority of people are on board with the idea of environmentally-friendly products that minimise the chemicals we put in our bodies, our bank balance may disagree. Luckily, PAN UK has advised what we should and shouldn't be buying organic, naming their 'dirty dozen' and 'clean fifteen'. Keep scrolling to streamline your shopping list...

The 'dirty dozen': 12 fruit and vegetables you should always try to buy organic

These foods were found to have the highest levels of pesticide residues by PAN UK in tests between 2012 and 2017, and as a result, are the ones you should always try to buy organic where possible - and some of them may surprise you.

1. Grapefruit

2. Oranges

3. Lemons and limes

4. Strawberries

5. Pears

6. Grapes

7. Cherries

8. Peaches

9. Parsnips

10. Asparagus

11. Apples

12. Apricots

Other foods to consider buying organic

Fruit and vegetables are not the only products to contain what is known as 'pesticide cocktails'. PAN UK explained pesticides appear in millions of different combinations in varying concentrations, and there is growing concern about the potential impact of the cocktail effect on human health and the environment. These starchy foods and grains were also found to have multiple pesticide residues.

1. Rice

2. Bread

3. Wheat

4. Oats

5. Cereal bars

woman holding groceries© Photo: iStock

PAN UK revealed you don't need to buy all organic produce

The 'clean fifteen': 15 best fruit and vegetables to buy non-organic

These items were found to have the least amount of pesticide residues and therefore are generally okay to buy non-organic.

1. Beetroot

2. Corn on the cob

3. Figs

4. Mushrooms

5. Rhubarb

6. Swede

7. Turnip

8. Onions

9. Avocado

10. Cauliflower

11. Radish

12. Sweet potato

13. Broad Beans

14. Leeks

15. Pumpkin and squash

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