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Twenty Most Important Items to Buy Organic

Updated on February 4, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Have you ever wondered what the tweny most important things to buy organic were? If you have to choose between three gallons of milk or one gallon of organic milk what should you do?

With prices going up everywhere more people have to choose more carefully when it comes to what they buy. The money only goes so far and sometimes quantity must win out over quality. So, which items should there be no compromise on?

The list may be slightly different for everyone but the following is a pretty much agreed upon list of items that you should not compromise on. Baby food and formula are not on this list, under the assumption that most people who buy organic make their own baby food and breast feed

So What are the Twenty Things You Should Buy Organic?

Cotton truly is the fabric of our lives. It is found in some form and percentage in most clothing and fabrics, as well as vitamin bottles and other things. Cotton is steeped with pesticide residues. It is also one of the worst markets for child labor. Organic cotton is clean, and it raised and harvested responsibly and ethically.

Rice is eaten by a large percentage of the world's population. It is used in baby foods and cereals and people with wheat allergies can often eat things made with rice flour. With this much rice being ingested it is important that it be free of chemicals and toxins.

Milk is used in most recipes. Children often drink milk by the glassful. A large percentage of dairy companies routinely inject their cows with growth hormones and other medications to make them manufacture more milk. To keep the cows form getting mastitis and other illnesses they are injected with antibiotics. The feed is full of pesticides and genetically modified corn. Many dairies now use the process of ultra pasteurization to kill off the germs in milk and make it last much longer on the shelf.

Green Beans are next on the Twenty Most Important Things to Buy Organic list. They are easy to grow yourself on very little land. The EPA has at least 60 pesticides on file that can be used on green beans. Much of the ff season crops are grown out of the country where the regulations are more relaxed. Some of these countries allow the use of pesticides that the United States has made illegal.

Organic coffee is grown responsibly and without pesticide use. Not only that, coffee is regularly fumigated with a carcinogenic chemical when it comes into the United States. Organic coffee is not fumigated. It is carefully inspected. If it is free of pests and possible disease it is allowed into the country. If not it is fumigated and is no longer labeled organic.

Strawberries are one of the most toxic laden foods available in the United States today. Seventy percent of the test berries contained pesticides. In the United States growers are allowed to use 500 lbs of pesticides per acre of strawberries. Even worse, like green beans, out of season berries are usually grown in countries with more relaxes laws about pesticides. Because the berry absorbs liquids easily pesticides are absorbed into the strawberry more readily than they would be in some other foods.

Feed for livestock. A lot of people forget that the milk and eggs and meat that they get from their own farm grown animals is not organic unless they are feeding organic! Feed is full of pesticides, GMO grains and unnecessary antibiotics. Read the labels. Remember that you are ultimately eating what they are eating.

Bananas have high levels of toxic chemicals used on them. Benomyl has been linked to birth defects and chlorpyrifos is a neurotoxin. These are regularly used on banana crops. Some people feel that since the banana has a skin that is peeled off the pesticide dangers are less.

Celery and other vegetables that don't have a protective skin soak up the pesticides used on them. It is important to buy these items organic.

Meat is a no brainer. While it does not necessarily have a lot of pesticide residues it does have huge amounts of growth hormones and antibiotics.

Chocolate is questionable, not just for the pesticide use but for the use of child labor. Organic chocolate is grown ethically and cleanly.

Baby toys are one item that many people don't think about. Babies put things in their mouths and chew on them. Their systems are less able to cope with toxins than an adult body so it makes sense to use organics around them.

Mattresses and especially crib mattresses should be organic. Mattresses have chemicals in them that release VOCs for a very long time. Consider that people spend about one third of their lives asleep and that babies sleep more than that and you will see why organic mattresses are important.

What Else is on the List?

Other items that you should try to buy organic are:

  • Apples

  • Cherries

  • Peaches

  • Lettuce

  • Corn products

  • Oils

  • Potatoes

Buy Organic

Buy Locally

By growing as much food as you can, buying locally, and choosing the most important organic items you can afford to eat, as well as eat healthily.

Local items may not be certified organic but most small farmers use far less pesticides, if any at all, on their plants.

Always wash your foods to be sure to get as much chemical residue off as possible. Remember that if you buy items out of season they may have been grown in other countries. Often the pesticides in use in these nations are not regulated and may have been found dangerous by the EPA.

There is a lot of wisdom to buying locally, buying fresh and buying organic, not just for health reasons but for the intense flavors as well.


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    • AnesaK profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      Great information! I knew about pesticides in non-organic coffee but never heard of "fumigation" of coffe. Thanks for the info :).

    • profile image

      Yvonnie Ametin 

      7 years ago

      Great article, great book suggestions. Always interested in reading about anything organic - I agree, buy organic.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great info thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      Ashlea B 

      7 years ago

      Good info. The bananas (and chocolate) were news to me. I'll be more intentional about bananas next time, as we eat a lot of them! The mattress info is worth keeping in mind too. How disturbing... all these nasty chemicals.

    • rajanrayhan profile image

      Mitali Chowdhury 

      7 years ago from Bangladesh

      You are a great huber I see ever. Your hubs are very informative. keep continued giving us more great hubs . thank you.

    • eatlikenoone profile image


      7 years ago from Saline, MI

      Thanks for the list.

    • Kpam profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this list. Very helpful post.

    • Greenbambinis profile image


      7 years ago from Chicago IL

      Great post...... Organic cotton is truly beneficial for baby's when choosing natural diapers.

      I have an article about this if anyone is interested in learning more

    • profile image

      Mike Chronos 

      7 years ago

      You are spot on with this article. Organic coffee is definitely a higher quality coffee. If anyone doesn't trust in that I recommend they taste it!

    • TonyShepard profile image


      7 years ago from Dallas Texas

      Working on an organic farm gave me a first hand look at how our food is handled, all the way up to the dinner table. It is not something we all think about, how many miles our food has traveled let alone what was put on it in the first place. This is a wonderfully written article and I will be reading more soon.

      Kindest Regards,

      Tony S.

    • Betty Reid profile image

      Betty Reid 

      8 years ago from Texas

      I'm surprised by your list. The only one of your top twenty that I thought was important was strawberries. Thanks for the new info.

    • Chef Jeff profile image

      Chef Jeff 

      10 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      We grow some of our own veggies, but I can't tell if the soil would be considered organic or not. We add no chemicals, but our property was once a corn farm, so I am sure there are some residues still present.

      Just the same, we love our little home-grown veggies and fruits!

      Great hub!

    • Dottie1 profile image


      10 years ago from MA, USA

      Thank you very much Marye for answering my request for this hub. Wow, you've really opened my eyes here. I'm thinking maybe it would be a good idea to start growing some of my own food next spring. With prices going up, like you say we do need to choose more carefully. I thank you for the items you listed that we should not compromise on. I have learned a lot from you and many more will too. Thumbs up.

    • newwoman54 profile image


      10 years ago

      great information! Thanks!

    • mulder profile image


      10 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

      Great info thanks .


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