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Sunday Mail - Body and Soul - - FRONT PAGE - Can’t de­cide whether spend­ing money on or­ganic pro­duce is worth it? Here’s where to spend and where to save. By Cassy Small

ost of us know that go­ing or­ganic is bet­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment and good for our health. Or­ganic al­ter­na­tives are avail­able for ev­ery­thing from meat and dairy prod­ucts to skin care. But with the over­whelm­ing ar­ray of choices con­fronting us on the su­per­mar­ket shelves, or­ganic is of­ten put in the too-hard bas­ket in­stead of our shop­ping bas­ket.

En­ter the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen. Th­ese lists of the “clean” and “dirty” fruit and veg have been made by the En­vi­ron­men­tal Work­ing Group, a US health and en­vi­ron­men­tal re­search or­gan­i­sa­tion. Its anal­y­sis of th­ese foods found that by us­ing the lists as a guide­line, con­sumers could po­ten­tially re­duce pes­ti­cide ex­po­sure by al­most 90 per cent.

NAS­TIES OR NICE?

Fruit and veg on the Clean 15 list re­quire min­i­mal in­ter­ven­tion in or­der to flour­ish, and in their non-or­ganic form con­tain the least amount of nas­ties. Th­ese foods are: as­para­gus, avocado, cab­bage, rock­melon, ki­wifruit, egg­plant, mush­room, grape­fruit, onion, mango, peas, wa­ter­melon, sweet po­tato, corn and pineap­ple.

The Dirty Dozen list, how­ever, is made up of fruit and veg that are of­ten laden with pes­ti­cides and other chem­i­cals. Th­ese are ap­ples, cap­sicum, blue­ber­ries, cel­ery, grapes, cu­cum­ber, let­tuce, nec­tarines, peaches, pota­toes, straw­ber­ries and spinach.

Natur­opath Holly Ge­orge says the Dirty Dozen should be at the top of ev­ery­one’s list when it comes to con­vert­ing to or­ganic. “Most of th­ese foods are gen­er­ally con­sumed with the skin on, so even peel­ing them or a good wash may not re­move all the resid­ual nas­ties,” she says.

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