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I can’t afford organic. Should I just go without fresh fruits & veggies?


Q. Because I can’t afford to buy organic should i go without fresh fruits and veggies in my diet? The question is.. organic or nothing?


A. Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet and you should never go without. Regardless if organic or not, fruits and vegetables should always make up half your plate at snack and mealtimes. The health benefits of consuming fruits and veggies outweigh any potential risk due to use of pesticides. And be assured that these risks are low.


USDA, EPA, and FDA set limits on how many pesticides are used on produce. Most farmers don’t want to use any more than they have to because they live and work near their fields, eat their own products, and because these compounds are expensive. Not to mention that virtually all of the studies that outline the health benefits of fruits and vegetables have been done with little regard to whether they were organically or conventionally grown. You can see how many fruits and veggies you would need to eat to come close to harmful pesticide levels using this Pesticide Calculator.


Always rinsing produce under running water can help remove dirt and bacteria before eating. Remember that all forms – 100% juice, dried, fresh, frozen and canned – count towards meeting daily recommendations and are equally nutritious.

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  1. It should be remembered, that not all of the fruits & vegetables have an equal number of pesicide residues. Environmental Working Group has made a nice list, that can be used as a reference.

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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