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5 Foods You Don’t Need to Buy Organic, Plus the Ones You Really Should

Organic produce is the popular choice for those of us trying to dodge harmful pesticides, but it turns out there are some non-organic fruits and veggies which are near identical to their expensive counterparts – minus the price tag, of course.

Studies show that eating fruits and veggies high in pesticides not only slashes their nutritional benefits, but also reduces our defences against cardiovascular disease.

To make matters worse, The American Academy of Paediatrics reported that children are exceptionally vulnerable to the toxicity of pesticide residues. Research found that early exposure to these pesticides is linked to childhood cancers and reduced cognitive function. With these risk factors, it’s no wonder that many shoppers prefer organic produce to reduce their exposure to these dangerous chemicals.

But with inflation at its highest in 20 years and grocery prices up by 10% since last year, splurging on those organic veggies can leave a dent in your wallet. When every cent counts, many of us are looking for a way to lose the pesticides without losing our money too – and with these 5 foods, you can do just that.


Avo lovers rejoice – not only is your favourite fruit cheaper than ever, it’s also one of the cleanest foods when it comes to pesticide residue. Research found less than 2% of the samples revealed any pesticides. So, enjoy that smashed avo toast and reap the cholesterol-lowering benefits of this powerhouse fruit – and yes, it is a fruit, not a veggie!


Like avos, only 2% of sweet corn samples showed pesticide presence. Paying for organic would be a waste when the pesticide levels are near non-existent in the regular produce.

Sweet potato

This starchy veggie has been bumped up on the clean list after eggplants didn’t make the cut. You’ll get to save your money by buying non-organic, while still loading up on this nutrient-rich veggie. It’s bursting with slow-release energy and packs in nearly 95% of our vitamin A needs, making it a solid addition to any meal.


The humble onion is not only packing antiviral properties, turns out it’s also one of the cleanest veggies to put on your plate. Skip the organic stuff, this one’s safe to eat either way!


It’s not surprising that the thick skin of a pineapple protects it from pesticide exposure, with that tough exterior providing a barrier – it may be a nuisance to remove, but it’s worth it for the health benefits. High in antioxidants and vitamins, this low-fructose fruit makes for a nutritious addition to your diet – without the hefty price tag.


Like pineapples, that tough exterior of a rockmelon protects it from pesticides. Boasting vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium, this fruit is one to add to your list.


This veggie has an enzyme which has been found to break down some of the common pesticides – meaning you can load up on asparagus without a worry – and without dropping the extra cash on organic produce. It’s worth the funky-smelling urine for the vitamin K and fibre content of this humble veggie.

The Dirty Dozen

There are a few fruits and veggies that it might be worth spending the extra cash on to get organic. The Environmental Working Group’s 2022 Dirty Dozen List has been released, and these are the 12 foods sitting on the wrong end of the pesticide scale:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard greens and mustard greens
  4. Capsicum and chilli
  5. Tomatoes
  6. Celery
  7. Apples
  8. Grapes
  9. Nectarines
  10. Peaches
  11. Pears
  12. Cherries

These fruits and veggies were found to be contaminated with far more pesticides than that of other produce, with 90% of strawberries, cherries, nectarines and spinach revealing high pesticide levels. But one of the worst offenders on the list was kale, with over 20 pesticides found in a single sample of this popular veggie. One of the chemicals found is known as DCPA, which has been classified as a carcinogen and was even banned by the European Union in 2009.

Leafy greens are a great source of vitamin K, iron and magnesium, and strawberries are antioxidant powerhouses, so you won’t want to kick any of the dirty dozen off your shopping list. Instead, opt for organic when it comes to these foods. If the price is holding you back, then there is an effective technique that can strip the majority of pesticides from your non-organic produce. A simple bi-carb soda and water soak for 15 minutes should remove a variety of pesticide residue, according to research.

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