25 Foods That You Should Always Buy Organic

The National Organic Program was established almost two decades ago by the Agricultural Marketing Service branch of the United States Department of Agriculture. The program was given the difficult task of creating a regulatory framework that would govern the principles of organic food production, but the organic certification program is complicated and, frankly, not well understood.

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Shoppers are often given the short-hand version of these principles, and as a result, typically assume organic foods are cleaner, more nutritious, and more environmentally sustainable than their conventionally-raised counterparts. While this is true to a degree, there is a lot of misinformation promoted by the food industry in order to convince customers to pay the high premium that comes with organic foods. A comprehensive meta-study conducted by Stanford University, which included the analysis of 237 different studies comparing nutrient levels and bacterial, fungal, or pesticide contamination of different fruits and vegetables, found little difference between organic and conventional foods.

Although organic foods might not be any healthier, they're definitely cleaner — but how do we know this? Well, the government tells us.

Every year, the USDA Pesticide Data Program releases a report outlining the pesticide residue on popular produce. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) takes it upon themselves to analyze the dense report and produce a "Dirty Dozen List" documenting which conventionally raised foods contain the highest concentration of chemical residue.  

On top of the list are some surprising names — who would've thought spinach is one of the dirtiest food items out there? So if you want to avoid chemical residues on your foods you should always buy the organic version of these 25 foods.