Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ask the Times

Q&A: Best choices for organic food

Buy organic food wisely

Organic foods are often expensive. Which foods do I need to buy organically?

This answer comes courtesy of Food Network Kitchens:

"Last year we introduced the Environmental Working Group's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, the list of most- and least-contaminated produce items to help you decide where to spend your organic-food budget. The group continues to conduct research on contamination levels in popular fruits and veggies. Here's the latest update.

"This list was created to help shoppers make informed choices about the produce they buy. Organic produce gets pricey and this type of list can help shoppers decide where their money is best spent (buying organic fruits and veggies when they are in season helps, too).

"According to the Environmental Working Group, consumers can lower their consumption of pesticides by four-fifths by avoiding the top 12 most-contaminated items — celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, kale/collard greens, potatoes and grapes. Buy organic versions of these to avoid the pesticides.

"As for produce items with the least amounts of pesticide residues — a.k.a. the "clean 15" — the top 10 have remained relatively unchanged while numbers 11 through 15 got shaken up. Papaya, broccoli and tomatoes have fallen out of the top 15, while cantaloupe, grapefruit and honeydew melon have joined the list: onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, mangoes, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potatoes and honeydew melon. You don't need to buy organic versions of these fruits and vegetables."

Updates to CPI calculatins

Is the Consumer Price Index figured differently now than, say, in the 1970s? I know the price of food, gas and some services are up, but there hasn't been an increase in Social Security in two or three years.

There have been several improvements to the way the Consumer Price Index has been calculated, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the government agency that calculates the CPI.

For example, in 1978 the BLS enhanced its methods of selecting the goods and services to be included in the CPI sample. In 1999, the BLS adopted a "geometric mean" formula to measure price change within most CPI item categories. A supplemental measure of price change, called the chained CPI-U, was introduced in 2002 that was designed to more closely approximate a cost-of-living index.

The chained CPI-U does not replace the measures of price change already produced by BLS, BLS economist Ken Stewart told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A list of many of these improvements can be found in Table 1 of chapter 17 of the BLS Handbook of Methods, which can be found at

Q&A: Best choices for organic food 07/31/11 [Last modified: Sunday, July 31, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Coming to Netflix in July: 'Rogue One,' 'E.T.,' 'Castlevania' and more


    Just when I think Netflix has outdone itself with new releases and originals, it surprises me with another month of superb offerings coming to the streaming site.

    Felicity Jones in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  2. Jones: Serena Williams, and all women, deserved better from John McEnroe


    John McEnroe might be the best sports analyst in broadcasting.

    Serena Williams makes a backhand return to her sister Venus during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in January in  Melbourne, Australia. [AP photo]
  3. Watch: Provocateur targets CNN producer with hidden camera video


    NEW YORK —A conservative provocateur posted a video Tuesday of a man identified as a CNN producer commenting on his network's coverage of President Donald Trump and connections to Russia.

    Anthony Scaramucci, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, talks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. [Associated Press]
  4. Protesters demand Confederate statue be moved from old Hillsborough courthouse


    TAMPA – Politicians, clergy and community leaders demanded Tuesday that the Hillsborough County commission reverse course and remove a Confederate monument from the old county courthouse.

    (From left) Mike Reed, Kristen Perry and Dayna Lazarus hold protest signs Tuesday in front of a Confederate monument on the grounds of Hillsborough County's old courthouse. Protesters want the statue removed. ALESSANDRA DA PRA   Times]
  5. Man charged with threatening Florida lawmaker on Facebook


    From The Associated Press:

    MIAMI — A Florida man has been charged with threatening to kill a state legislator in a Facebook post. 

    This booking photo released by the Miami-Dade Police Department shows Steve St. Felix, who has been charged with threatening to kill Republican state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz in a Facebook post.