Buy Organic Where It Counts Most
Recognizing that it's not possible to eat organic produce 100 percent of the time, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) report helps consumers prioritize. EWG's Shopper's Guide identifies the 12 fruits and vegetables that are most often contaminated by pesticide residues and thus best bought organic:
- bell peppers
- grapes (imported)
For meat, eggs, and dairy, certified organic is your best choice because federal standards mandate 100 percent organic feed (eliminating the risk of mad cow disease, for one thing).
But when organic isn't available or affordable, ask the following questions:
- Was the animal fed only grass and/or 100 percent vegetarian grain?
- Were growth hormones used (in cattle)?
- Were antibiotics routinely given?
- Were the animals confined?
In addition, "If your local producer allows visits, go and check it out themselves," suggests Dr. Urvashi Rangan of Consumers Union.