Amy McGorry: Eating organically grown food is a clear delicious choice, but finding and affording it can be challenging. Here are a few highly contaminated foods that you should buy organic whenever possible, beef, pork and poultry.
The EPA reports that meat is contaminated with higher levels of pesticides than any plant food. Many chemical pesticides are fat-soluble and accumulate in the fatty tissue of animals.
Animal feed that contains animal product compounds the accumulation, which is directly passed to the human consumer.
Antibiotics, drugs and hormones also accumulate and are passed on to consumers as well. Look for beef, pork and poultry products labeled organic whenever possible.
Milk, cheese and butter for reason similar to those for meat, the fat and dairy product poses a high risk for contamination by pesticides. Animals concentrate pesticides and chemicals in their milk and meat. Growth hormones and antibiotics are also serious concerns and are invariably found in commercial milk, cheese and butter.
Strawberries and raspberries, 36 different pesticides are commonly used on strawberries and 90% of strawberries tested register pesticide contamination above safe levels.
Raspberries trump strawberries with the application of 39 chemicals. 58% of the raspberries tested register positive for contamination. A good general rule is to buy organic for any fruit or vegetable you don't peel.
Spinach and other greens, the FDA found spinach to be the vegetable most frequently contaminated with the most potent pesticides used on food. 83% of the conventionally grown spinach tested was found to be contaminated with dangerous levels of at least some of the 36 chemical pesticides commonly used to grow it.
Make sure you are choosing organic whenever possible in order to avoid contamination in your meals.