It can be confusing to shop for vegetables these days trying to figure out whether to buy organic vs. conventionally grown produce.
Some say if it has a thick peel organic doesn’t matter, but sometimes it does.
Here’s a couple of lists: One of foods you should always buy organic and the other a list of produce that is alright to buy conventionally grown items.
Always Buy Organic:
Why? These foods have been found to have high levels of pesticide contamination.
Always wash all fruits and vegetables just before cooking and preparing.
- Imported Nectarines
- Cherry and Grape Tomatoes
- Corn – to avoid GMO
- Collard greens
- Hot peppers
- Summer Squash
- Sweet Bell Peppers
OK To Buy Conventionally Grown:
Why? These crops are safely grown with the low usage of pesticide resulting in lower pesticide residue on your fruits and vegetables.
Always wash well before preparing.
- Papayas – Check it for GMO
- Cabbage, all varieties
- Sweet Potatoes
This list features the most pesticide contaminated foods which are advised to purchase organically whenever possible. The conventionally grown foods on the list are the ones grown with the least amount of pesticide contamination.
if it’s not on the list, you’ll have to do some research and decide for yourself whether to buy organic or conventionally grown.
Most produce in the USA will come with a PLU number on it. It is not required by the government but the PLU system was designed to streamline things for processors and pricing, not consumers.
Here are a few basic guidelines for selecting fruit and vegetables using PLU codes.
Conventionally grown produce will bear a 4-digit number in the 3,000-4,000 range
Organic produce will bear a 5-digit number starting with 9
Supposedly GMO produce bears a 5-digit number starting with 8, but you don’t see it because they really don’t use those PLU codes to identify GMO grown foods. Why don’t they use the 8-digit code? Growers are afraid consumers won’t buy if it bears a code starting with an 8, so they choose to leave the code off the product. Use of the PLU code is optional, not required.
So the best thing to do is not totally depend upon PLU codes but know who grows your food and know where it comes from.