You must have noticed up to now that every fruit and vegetable is labeled with a sticker on it. That label is there put for a reason, it is not there only for the price.
The PLU code or the price lookup number on the sticker can tell you if the product you are buying is genetically modified, organic or grown with chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and fungicides.
- If the product has a four-digit code beginning with a 3 or a 4, then it means that most likely is conventionally grown. The last digits of the code present what type of fruit or vegetable you are buying. For instance, bananas have the code of 4011.
- If the product has a label with five numbers, beginning with an 8, then it is genetically modified. For example, the label on genetically modified banana (GE-genetically engineered of GMO) will have the following digits 84011.
- If the product has a five-digit code with a first number of 9, then it means that it is organic. Namely, organic bananas are labeled with the code 94011.
EWG (The Environmental Working Group) made an analysis on the pesticide residue testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration, and has come up with a ranking of these popular fresh produce items.
On the other hand, the Environmental Protection Agency places a warning saying that the consumption of pesticides can lead to health issues like “nerve damage, birth defects, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time.” Children are most vulnerable to the use of pesticides.
Fruits and Vegetables That Always Have to be Bought Organic
The Dirty 14 Foods
The following foods are with the highest content of pesticides and should always be bought organic or grown yourself, only then you will be sure what kind of fruits and vegetables you are eating.
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Hot Peppers
- Kale/Collard Greens
- Nectarines (imported)
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Summer Squash
The Clean 15 Foods
These are the following foods which were said by EWG to be relatively low in pesticide residue. Consuming these foods you will be on the save side.
- Sweet Corn (consume only organic corn as there are many genetically modified varieties)
- Papayas ( consume solely organic papaya as there are many GMOs types)
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
The (white) potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce, according to EWG which also specifies that 99% of apples, 98% of peaches and 97% of nectarines had at least one pesticide residue.