Organic vs. Non-Organic Food: 15 Foods You Don't Need To Buy Organic


When staring down the options in the organic produce aisle at the supermarket, it can be easy to assume that every one with a brightly coloured organic sticker should replace the conventionally grown foods you've purchased for years. But even the natural health industry doesn't think that every item in your basket need be organic.

According to the Canadian Health Food Association, which is celebrating Natural Health Products Week from Nov. 4 to 10, there are quite a few items you can pick up anywhere. While many studies have stated organic food is not necessarily healthier than non-organic in terms of nutritional value, the concerns for those who purchase organic tend to focus on the pesticides that can be ingested along with their fruits and vegetables.

As determined by the Environmental Working Group, while there are the 'dirty dozen' foods to consider (and we even narrowed it down to seven that are worst) which contain large traces of pesticides, there's a whopping 15 foods that keep it relatively clean.

One of the easiest ways to remember which ones you can opt out of organic for are those fruits and veggies that have a thick exterior skin, or even better, have an exterior you don't eat at all. Check out the updated list for 2013 of the 'clean 15' to keep on hand the next time you hit up the market.

Read on for the slideshow, or click here for a text version of the list.:

Foods You Don't Need To Buy Organic


Thanks to their thick, scaly skin, the pesticides used on avocados don't make their way into the flesh we love in guacamole, in salads, or pretty much on anything.

Sweet Corn

The husk of the corn keeps pesticide levels low. However, many proponents of clean eating note that GMO corn is not marked, and if that is a concern to you, buying organic for this product might be a good idea.


Not a lot of pesticides are getting through the rather intense shell of the pineapple — heck, even we have difficult cutting in.


You can buy non-organic mangos without a worry, but be sure to wash the fruit carefully before eating anyway.

Sweet Peas

For the ambitious who love to shell their own peas, you can blissfully buy the non-organic sort (but for a shortcut in the kitchen, we definitely suggest the frozen kind).


As asparagus doesn't attract many insects, fewer pesticides are used on the veggie, so feel free to pluck it from the non-organic aisle.


That thick brown skin doesn't only work as a useful shell to keep from getting juice all over you, but also protects the delicious skin inside from pesticides.


Although the leaves of cabbage can be used in full, the plant is not sprayed heavily with pesticides.


Eggplant is actually one of the veggies with the higher percentage of pesticide on the 'clean' list, but if non-organic is your only option, you can feel fine buying eggplant grown conventionally.


That's a hard shell cantaloupes boast, so non-organic is fine for this melon. To err on the side of caution, though, you might want to avoid cantaloupes from Mexico, where they can be heavily sprayed by pesticides.


The same advice applies to watermelon — you aren't eating the rind (we hope), so pick one up wherever you'd like. Just be sure to wash the outside before cutting into it and eating.


A burst of citrus can be lovely at the beginning (or end) of your day, and rest assured you're fine to buy these thick-skinned fruits in the non-organic aisle.

Sweet Potato

Though potatoes show up on the 'dirty dozen' list of what to buy organic, sweet potatoes actually have far fewer pesticides and are fine to buy non-organic.

Sweet Onions

Thanks to their many layers of skin, onions (even the sweet kind) don't get attacked by pests, and therefore, aren't sprayed with as many pesticides.


Just like their sweet cousins, the lack of pesticides on onions can be attributed to insects' disinterest. As a staple of so many cooked dishes, we're happy to report you can pick up onions anywhere.