Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides

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I have educated myself on the harmful effects of pesticides and the contamination we face with the foods we eat daily. I’m ashamed to admit it but I’ve been turning a blind eye to this issue in an effort to stretch our food dollars.
I have the classic angel and devil appear on my shoulder as I stand staring at the produce.

This is how it goes:

Angel: Careful before you pick up those apples, are they organic? You don’t want to expose your family to chemicals.
Devil: Careful? You’re lucky; you haven’t resorted to feeding the family cat food during these tough economic times.

Angel: Yes, times are tough but you want your family to live long healthy lives, don’t you?
Devil: I bet if you tally up the difference in price of organic versus non-organic produce, you could take a summer vacation from the savings. That is what I call a healthy life.

Angel: Don’t be silly. Think long term: if you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing.

Then I reach for the non organic apples anyway and tell the angel to let it slide.

Come on, I’m under a lot of stress as it is. I don’t need some “goody two shoes” telling me that I’m killing my family meanwhile I worry every day I go into work whether this is my last day on the job. 

The problem is I go home, put the apples in the fruit bowl, and then slap it out of my son’s hands when he reaches for it.

To keep myself some what sane, I use the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides as a checkpoint. It’s an annual report put out by The Environmental Working Group that ranks pesticide contamination for popular fruits and veggies. They call it the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15.”

So if you plan on purchasing any of the produce that are listed under the dirty dozen you are better off to buy them organic. If you looking to buy any of the clean 15 you can feel better knowing the risk is lower and you can purchase non organic versions. 

See, I can live with myself now. My angel wanted me to tell you that the best advice is to buy everything organic and local. I say do what you can live with. 


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