Organic or Conventional? WHAT DO YOU DO?

Organic or Conventional (Fruits and Vegetables)? Do you find yourself unsure about what to do at the grocery store?

Whether to buy organic or non-organic fruits and vegetables is a very important decision, and it’s actually much easier to know what to do than you might think. And…guess what? You really don’t have to buy everything organic.

Lucky for us, insofar as produce from the United States is concerned (where the bulk of our overseas produce comes from in Bermuda), there is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that is dedicated to protecting human health and the environment that we can turn to to help us answer this question in a practical way. This organization is called The Environmental Working Group, or EWG. Their website is and their mission is to “empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.” Their breakthrough research is aimed at connecting people and the environment in an intimate way – they evaluate the safety of personal care products, tap water, home cleaning products, foods and more.

As relates to food, they produce a very popular annual guide that you need to know about – EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. And from that guide, they create 2 shortlists that cover the best and worst of what you need to know about produce in the current year, creatively named “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Clean Fifteen.”

The Dirty Dozen tells you which non-organic fruits and vegetables are the most covered in pesticide residue and The Clean Fifteen tells you which non-organic fruits and vegetables are the “cleanest” or least covered in harmful pesticide residues.

Nutrition Pro Tip: Having these lists with you when you go to buy groceries helps you avoid The Dirty Dozen – buy organic ONLY for those items. Try not to buy conventional fruits and vegetables covered in harmful chemicals. No matter how well you wash them, for those dirtiest fruits and vegetables, the residues are really bad. So, again, that’s where you want to splurge and buy organic.

However, you can feel comfortable selecting non-organic items at the grocery store that are on the Clean Fifteen List. That’s right – For the Clean Fifteen, you do not need to splurge on organic. Buy conventional there. See how easy that is? Done.

Again, that is for US produce. For Bermuda produce, I suggest contacting the farm and asking. The question to ask is: “Do you spray the vegetables with pesticides or herbicides?” There are several farms that do an incredible job of not using harmful pesticides or herbicides on their fruit and vegetables.

Here’s where you find the most current lists:

Dirty Dozen™ EWG’s 2021 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ —

Clean Fifteen™ EWG’s 2021 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ —


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