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Bananas: Organic vs. Conventional

Deciding whether to buy organic or conventional bananas is a toughie. Organic ones are more expensive (usually at least 30 cents more per pound), and I've noticed that they seem to bruise more easily – anyone else notice that, too? The major difference between the two are that conventional bananas are grown with synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides to protect the crops from mold, bugs, and disease. On the other side, organic farmers use natural fertilizers such as manure and seaweed, insect predators and barriers to prevent pests, and they weed by hand or mulch in order to prevent weeds.

You may be thinking that all those chemicals used to grow conventional bananas are no big deal because you peel the fruit. But the chemicals are not just on the outside of the banana — they leach into the soil that is used to grow the produce. So even if you peel your banana, it doesn't prevent you from ingesting small amounts of those chemicals. Although you may feel better knowing most experts agree that the amount you ingest poses little threat to your health. If you're concerned about the nutritional value of your food, there are ongoing studies exploring the connection between pesticides and nutrients in foods; so far it looks like organic is healthier. Organic produce is also better for the planet since chemical pesticides make their way into the soil and run off into water sources.

With the sky-rocketing prices of food, buying organic may not be feasible all the time. Bananas, along with avocados, mangos, papayas, and pineapples have been found to have the lowest pesticide residue. However, apples, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries have very high pesticide residues so you might want to splurge on organic.


Join The Conversation
Shannon15071405 Shannon15071405 3 years
Dennis14785084 Dennis14785084 4 years
funny u say they bruise easily.. they dont where i'm from.. so you comment is factually baseless... and the comment below about staying green longer than non- organic also baseless.. why not try an actual "study" and then post comments instead of uselss commentary.. maybe interview a banana grower...suddenly everyone here is an expert..the main reason information on the internet is mostly incorrect.. oh but i did notice an increase in births around a full moon and my luck astrology mood ring tells me this is so
Dawn3203856 Dawn3203856 5 years
I bought organic bananas almost three weeks ago and they are still green and hard as a rock. Is this normal?
montrealfoodguy montrealfoodguy 6 years
purchasing bananas should be for a societal reason rather than environmental or personal health issue. the workers in the convential or standard banana plantations are paid horribly, employ children and have no care to the chemicals that these workers are exposed to. Leukemia is rampant. Organic farms pay their workers better and dont spray chemicals on their workers from airplanes above. this is one of those few things i absolutely buy organic even though the product and safety (to the consumer) is virtually the same. Coffee is the other big one to buy fair trade. The direct impact on the lives of the workers is worth the extra 27-50 per pound... in my opinion. Next time you go to a grocery store take bananas of the same basic sice and wiegh them on the scale and compare the difference in price. Give up half a coffee from a coffee store once per week and youve improved many peoples; lives. Like i said, one of the few things it is important to buy organic even though the product is virtually the same. just sayin...
lauren lauren 6 years
@raisinpeanut, I think at least at my trader joes, they are 19 cents per banana but still is a pretty deal. I actually buy organic fair trade since I have read horrible stories about the workers on the banana farm and I just can't support that sort of thing.
SaraNoH SaraNoH 6 years
"I don't consider buying organic to be a "splurge"." you must be made of money than. Too bad organic can be so much more expensive.... :(
AKirstin AKirstin 9 years
So, basically, food with skin you peel off is a bit safer in non-organic, and food with skin you eat should be organic. Yeah?
modblonde modblonde 9 years
thanks! this is always something i've wondered about!
Spectra Spectra 9 years
We go to Door County during the summer and go to a pick-your-own cherry orchard where you get a 10-lb bucket and you have to fill it. They bag 'em up and they cost all of $1 a pound. And they're organic, which is a major plus. Gotta love local farmers :)
seraphimm seraphimm 9 years
A supermarket near my house was selling cherries for $2 per POUND so I went crazy and bought 5 batches. Then the next day... I went to Whole Foods and saw that they were selling for $8 a pound or something ridiculous like that.. I felt like throwing away the cherries I bought earlier.. hmm..cheaper isn't always better.. :(
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
"Toxic pesticides used during banana production include benomyl (linked to birth defects) and chlorpyrifos (a neurotoxin). In Costa Rica, a major exporter, only 5 percent of cultivated land is used for bananas, but 35 percent of the country's pesticide imports are used on banana crops. "
redsugar redsugar 9 years
We buy the organic ones because they ripen better. We use them all the time in smoothies and no one likes a starchy banana smoothie. I've also noticed they are smaller.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I've always heard that bananas were one of those foods with some of the least amounts of pesticides on them, so I've always bought the regular kind. Except when I was in Central America...when I was there, I could buy about 20 different kinds of bananas and a lot of them were organic. They WERE a little more expensive, even there, but they were really yummy. Especially those little red ones!
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
My Whole Food store stopped carrying conventional bananas so all I can buy is organic. I do not notice any difference at all between conventional and organic, which is good.
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