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Which Organic Foods are Worth the Cost?
DAYTON -- It can be overwhelming and expensive to buy everything organic, but if you know what to look for buying organic doesn't have to break the bank.
The legal definition of organic food means the item is not genetically modified in any way and is grown and processed without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
Longtime registered dietician Debbie Serenius recommends spending most of your organic food budget on produce.
"If we can avoid pesticides and its a little better for the earth, then it's better," Serenius explained. "Some of these pesticides really do get into the flesh of fruits and vegetables and our pesticides are regulated so it isn't terribly harmful, but if you think of children when their growing, they're a lot more vulnerable."
But even experts pick and choose.
"I don't buy everything organic. I still buy a lot of conventional fruits and vegetables," Serenius added.
How does she determine what's worth the splurge? Introducing the 'Dirty Dozen' and the 'Clean 15'.
Each year the Environmental Working Group evaluates the pesticides residue in produce.
Topping the Dirty Dozen list year after year is apples. Following closely behind are strawberries, grapes, and celery.
And on the flip side, clean list toppers include avocados, pineapples, cabbage, and sweet potatoes.
And keep in mind skin provides a level of protection, so even apples can be pesticide free if you peel them before eating.
But remember, any produce is better than none at all.
"The benefits of eating fruits and vegetables even if you just buy conventional, way outweigh staying away from them if you can't afford organic," Serenius concluded.
Experts also say organic seafood isn't worth the cost. The USDA does not provide organic standards for fish and shellfish so any seafood labeled "organic" may not be any safer for your family.
Look below for the full lists for 2014.
7. Sweet bell peppers
8. Nectarines - imported
10. Cherry tomatoes
11. Snap peas - imported
2. Sweet corn
5. Sweet peas - frozen
15. Sweet potatoes
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