In my last two blog posts, we addressed whether or not organic foods are more nutritious, and the current “dirty dozen” list– the worst offenders of the non-organic food world. In this post, we’ll look at other foods to buy organic, and the Top 15 foods that are safe to buy non-organically.

Fatty meats
While it doesn’t make the list of dirty dozen foods, meat makes The Daily Green list. While there are generally no pesticides found in beef muscle, fat is another story. Fewer than a dozen pesticides have been detected in beef fat, but among them are long-lived chemicals that accumulate in human fats just as they do in beef cattle. The same pattern can be seen in other meats, with pork fat and chicken thighs tallying the most pesticide residue. Lean meat come up clean.

Pesticides and other man-made chemicals have been found in human breast milk. Not surprisingly, pesticides have been found in dairy products, too. Twelve different pesticides have been identified in milk, which is of especial concern because it is often a staple of children’s diets.

While the watchdog lists don’t include data on coffee, many of the coffee beans we buy coffee beansare grown in countries with loose regulations on pesticide use. Look for the USDA Organic label to ensure that you are buying beans that have been grown or processed without the use of potentially harmful chemicals.

The same as coffee, there isn’t any current data reporting on pesticides found in wine. But if you recall from my discussion of the dirty dozen, grapes are among the crops most heavily doused with pesticides due to fungus and bugs. Fortunately, more fine organic wines can be found in the market today. Most of them are labeled as “made with organic grapes”. Keep in mind that it’s not truly “organic” since winemakers add sulfites as preservative in preparation for long-distance shipping.

Just like coffee beans, cocoa beans are grown across the developing world. chocolateMany cocoa beans are grown in countries without strict laws governing use of pesticides, worker rights or other factors which are considered basic in the Unites States. Buying organic chocolate ensures that your sweet treat is both environmentally and ethically grown.

Buy the Clean 15
On the other side of the coin, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) also created the 2011 Clean 15 list for those buyers who find buying purely organic edibles too heavy for their pockets. As I mentioned in my last post, thick skinned fruits and vegetables tend to have the lowest amounts of pesticide residue.The list is ranked as follows:
1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapple
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet peas
7. Mango
8. Eggplant
9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
10. Kiwi
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet Potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15 Mushrooms

When it’s not possible for you to buy organic food 100 percent of the time, refer to both the dirty dozen list and this Clean 15 so that you can make clear choices about which foods to serve, and which ones to avoid.