Which Foods Have To Be Organic?

Food from organic production not only usually tastes better than conventionally grown products, but often also provides far larger amounts of nutrients and vital substances than their counterparts that have been sprayed several times and synthetically fertilized. Some fruits absorb more pesticides than others. We introduce you to those foods that you should definitely buy of organic quality.

These foods must be organic

There are plants that are treated with pesticides or fungicides more often than others. Also, there are plants that absorb more toxins than others. And then there are plants that prefer to draw special toxins out of the soil, even if their use in agriculture has not been permitted for decades, but which are still stored in the soil.

For example, certain grains still absorb dieldrin (a powerful carcinogenic insecticide), even though the toxin was banned in some countries as early as 1974 (worldwide, dieldrin – as a member of the group of pollutants known as the “dirty dozen” – was only banned in 1974 banned in 2001).

So if you can’t/don’t want to afford all the food from organic farming, you should at least use organic goods for the products presented below:


Apples absorb more pesticides than any other fruit. About 36 different chemicals have been found in apples, and seven different chemicals have been found in a single apple at the same time. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to source this fruit only from organic farms.

Perhaps you can make contact with farmers who have meadow orchards and who will allow you to pick unpolluted apples for a fee. Conceivable, but not necessarily local, alternatives to apples would be tangerines, bananas, and watermelons.


Strawberries are also among the most contaminated fruits you can buy. Before you buy conventionally grown strawberries, don’t buy them at all. Incidentally, strawberries can be easily and successfully grown on any balcony in window boxes or flower pots.

Peaches and Nectarines

These fruits are also known to absorb far more chemicals and pesticides than most other fruits. Up to 33 different chemicals and pesticides have been found in nectarines.

Baby food

It is a well-known fact that babies and children do not yet have the detoxification mechanisms required for today’s toxins in food and the environment. Wherever possible, buy organic baby food, or better yet, make your own by pureeing fresh organic fruits and vegetables.


Although blueberries are generally regarded as a superfood (as a food that is particularly rich in vital substances and is health-promoting), this only applies if they come from organic farming. Tests have shown that blueberries can be contaminated with 52 different pesticides.


Grapes are wonderful fruits full of antioxidants and vital substances. But what good is all this if it contains up to 17 different chemicals and pesticides?

Dairy products

On the one hand, most cows consume feed that is contaminated with genetically modified forage plants or even consists largely of it. On the other hand, the common animal feed contains residues of chemicals and pesticides, as well as synthetic additives and medicines.

Whenever possible, you should therefore use organic dairy products, which you should ideally buy directly from the farm in the form of raw milk. Raw milk and raw milk cheese are definitely considered to be healthier and less harmful than the multi-processed, heated versions available in the supermarket today.

Meat products

The same applies to meat, farmed fish, and products made from them. Apart from the ethical aspect, which should actually awaken the need in everyone to only consume meat products that come from relatively happy animals, it is now considered certain that meat from animals that are species-appropriate (with grass and herbs instead of grain, corn, and soy) is healthier.


Cucumbers are among those fresh foods that perform particularly poorly in tests. Whole pesticide cocktails should be able to be detected in conventional goods. Hence the common advice is to eat cucumbers only when they are peeled.

Unfortunately, the coveted vital substances are located under and in the skin, so organic cucumbers – which you can of course eat with the skin – once again offer the double advantage: less poison and more content.


Because the pepper has a very thin skin, it absorbs pesticides and chemicals very quickly. If you can’t get organic peppers, safer alternatives like peas, cabbage (or red), and broccoli are more advisable.

Spinach and kale

The leaves of spinach and kale are capable of absorbing up to 48 different pesticides. It is therefore particularly important in this case to only buy organic products or to switch to the alternatives (white or red) cabbage, broccoli, and peas just mentioned.


Potatoes can absorb up to 37 chemicals and pesticides. Since there is hardly any vegetable with such a serious difference in taste between organic and non-organic as there is with potatoes, organic shopping here is worthwhile in several ways. It should also be noted that potatoes can also contain pesticides – not only residues of pesticides that are sprayed to ward off insects, but also residues of so-called germ inhibitors.


The pumpkin is also known for absorbing certain contaminated sites (e.g. Dieldrin) from the earth, which is why it should be bought in organic quality. In the organic shop, you will also find numerous old pumpkin varieties that have not been available in supermarkets for a long time.


Celery is also called bleached celery or celery. Healthy vegetables are among the most contaminated types of vegetables.

Green beans

Unfortunately, green beans also top the list of residues because they can absorb up to 60 different pesticides that are used to repel insects during the vegetable’s growth phase.

Please note that there are clear differences between organic foods that only meet the EC organic regulation and those that were produced on a farm that is affiliated with an organic farming association. We recommend that you prefer to choose foods that bear the emblem of an organic farming association (Bioland, Demeter, Naturland, Bio-Suisse, Bio Austria, etc.).

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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