Choosing organic

Organic food is naturally good – any foods labelled as organic must meet a strict set of standards which define what farmers and food manufacturers can and cannot do, so GM ingredients as well as controversial artificial food colours and preservatives are banned under organic standards.

Reducing your exposure to pesticides

Eating organically grown food is the best way to reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides- this is because the certification provides an assurance that food across the whole range will, overall, have fewer pesticides in them than non-organic food. 

Pesticides can be routinely used in non-organic farming and they are often present in non-organic food as some of them remain in the food we eat, despite washing and cooking.

We asked the UK’s leading children’s food safety expert, Professor Vyvyan Howard, for his comments about pesticides.

“It is widely accepted that young children are considerably more vulnerable from toxic chemicals than adults. There is still much debate amongst scientists about the safety of pesticides. However, the truth is, we simply do not know what the effect is of lifelong exposure to a cocktail of manmade chemicals. We just know that children are more vulnerable.”

Professor Vyvyan Howard*
Source

*MB ChB PhD FRCPath, Paediatric Toxico-Pathologist, University of Ulster

Switching to organic

Some foods are worse for containing pesticide residue than others, depending on the farming method and other factors, so switching to organic for food most affected by chemicals is an option if all organic shopping isn’t possible. 

Those with traces of more than one pesticide are potentially the biggest concern, according to PAN (Pesticide Action Network) UK, who suggest anyone considering switching to organic should prioritise these.

The ‘worst’ list shows those most commonly found to contain more than one pesticide residue, while the ‘best’ list shows foods least often found to contain more than one.

  • The 'worst'
  • The 'best'

The 'worst'

1Oranges
2Lemons/limes
3Pears
4Grapes
5Apples
6Pre-packed salads
7Bananas
8Spring greens
9Kale
10Herbs
11Spinach
12Cucumber

The 'best'

1Beetroot
2Mushrooms
3Turnip
4Cauliflower
5Peas
6Asparagus
7Avocado
8Broccoli
9Potato
10Swede
11Sweet potato
12Pumpkin/squash

Other foods to choose organic based on advice from the experts include:

  • Wheat, rice, flour & bread
  • Frequently used staples - potatoes, carrots & onions

Organic certification

All of our foods are strictly regulated by the Soil Association. Soil Association Certification is the UK's largest organic certification body, responsible for certifying over 70% of all organic products sold in the country.

Portrait Soil Association