Care of MSN & Smart Money
Organic foods may be healthier for you, but they can have a sickening effect on your budget.
Produced without pesticides or other chemicals, organic produce, meat and dairy products can cost 50% to 100% more than their conventional counterparts, says Urvashi Rangan, a senior scientist and policy analyst with Consumer Reports' Greener Choices.
You'll get the most bang for your buck by buying organic apples, beef and spinach (see the list below). That's because the conventional counterparts to these foods are laden with pesticides and potentially harmful additives.
Produce such as papayas, bananas and broccoli require fewer pesticides to grow, thereby retaining little to no residue after washing. The peels on bananas and other tropical fruits further reduce your exposure.
WORTH BUYING ORGANIC
Apples, cherries, grapes, pears, berries, peaches, nectarines, plums
Celery, potatoes, spinach, bell peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans
Beef, pork, poultry, eggs, dairy products
NOT WORTH BUYING ORGANIC
Bananas, kiwis, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, oranges
Asparagus, avocados, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, onions, sweet peas
All is okay. Check out your sustainable seafood chart.
Processed foods (chips, pasta, etc.), cleaning products, cosmetics
Sources: "Eating Between the Lines," Environmental Working Group and Consumer Reports