The Cost of Eating Organic Foods

By: Jacquelyn Buffo
Published on November 19, 2011
Last Updated on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 11:01 AM
Total Updates: 4

Many people feel torn over buying organic versus nonorganic food. On the one hand, organic foods are free from pesticides and arguably have more nutritional value. On the other hand, nonorganic foods are less expensive and some studies indicate that certain foods are not privy to maintaining pesticide residue. In today's economy where it is a requirement to pinch pennies wherever possible but also essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, is it worth it to buy organic food?

Luckily for us a non-profit group exists called Environmental Worker's Group (EWG) whose primary purpose is to keep the public informed on environmental and health issues. The group lobbies for environmental and health laws on the political level and conducts their own research to back up their claims. You can find out more about the EWG at

EWG conducted research on 2010 crops and found some interesting information regarding the amount of pesticide residue found on various types of produce. Common fruit that topped the list of the most pesticide residue found included apples which were first on the list followed closely by strawberries which landed in third place. Peaches came in as number four and imported nectarines grabbed the sixth spot. Imported grapes came in seventh and domestic blueberries rounded out the list holding the tenth highest spot. Unfortunately, some of our favorite vegetables made the list as well including celery which came in second, nutritious spinach came in fifth followed by sweet bell peppers taking the eighth highest spot. Beloved potatoes came in at ninth and lettuce and kale finished the list at eleventh and twelfth place respectively.

    Highest Levels of Pesticide Residue:
  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Imported Nectarines
  7. Imported Grapes
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Domestic Blueberries
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale

Before you start looking for change under your seat cushion keep in mind that there are fruits that yielded a very small amount of pesticide. Pineapple came in as the third lowest in pesticide levels with avocado trailing closely behind at forth on the list followed by mango in seventh and domestic cantaloupe in ninth place. Delectable kiwi was awarded tenth place proceeded by watermelon in twelfth and grapefruit rounded out the list in spot fourteen.

    Lowest Levels of Pesticide Residue:
  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Mangos
  8. Eggplant
  9. Domestic Cantaloupe
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

Some vegetable staples such as onions took the number one spot for the lowest amount of pesticide found followed closely by sweet corn in second place. Asparagus ranked fifth, sweet peas sixth, eggplant eighth, and surprisingly cabbage ranked eleventh on the list. Sweet potatoes and mushrooms earned the thirteenth and fifteenth spots as the produce with the lowest amount of pesticide.

Produce such as pineapple, avocado, domestic cantaloupe, kiwi, mango, watermelon and grapefruit had very little pesticide residue and all have an outer layer protecting the supple fruit. Vegetables such as onions, sweet corn, eggplant and sweet peas have at least one outer layer that could possible act as a protectant against pesticides. Therefore, if you can't afford to buy all organic produce a healthy way to cut costs is to purchase nonorganic foods with the least amount of pesticides!