Pesticide Guide For Safe Fruits And Vegetables


Making wise and safe decisions on the kinds of fruits and vegetables to purchase at the market can be difficult today. In fact, Consumers Reports’ recent survey of 1,050 Americans found that 85 percent of the participants cited they were fearful about pesticide exposure and the residue that lingers on the produce they purchase at their local grocery store.

Pesticide Exposure Increases Health Risks

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American body has traces of 29 different pesticides.

Michael Crupain, M.D., M.P.H., director of Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center offered the following comment in a Consumer Reports interview.

“We’re exposed to a cocktail of chemicals from our food on a daily basis. It’s not realistic to expect we wouldn’t have any pesticides in our bodies in this day and age, but that would be the ideal. We just don’t know enough about the health effects.”

Studies show exposure to pesticides may increase the risk of food allergies in some people. In addition, researchers also link pesticide exposure to autism, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease.

In order to reduce the risk of pesticide exposure, many consumers are confused when it comes to choosing organic produce over conventional vegetables and fruits; especially when organic produce costs close to 49 percent more. However, choosing organic over standard fruits and vegetables is always a safer choice according to experts.

Pesticide Shopping Guide Helps Shoppers

Consumer Reports created a pesticides guide called “From Crop to Table.” This scientific report answers many questions pertaining to pesticides, including health and environmental concerns, terminology, protection methods, organic farming without pesticides, and much more.

The information in the Consumer Reports’ pesticide guide is an accumulation of 12 years of data obtained from the Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program. The information is broken down into five categories, based on daily servings—from a very low healthy limit of pesticide intake, to very high limit of a daily intake. Additionally, the report breaks down the country of origin of many fruits and vegetables.

In addition to the pesticide guide, Consumer Reports experts suggest 10 fruits and vegetable that should always be purchased in an organic form due to the medium to high risk of pesticide intake.

  • Green Beans
  • Hot Peppers
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Tangerines
  • Nectarines
  • Cranberries

Consumer Reports also offers a free guide called “Rules to Shop By” showing risks of exposure to pesticides in 48 standard fruits and vegetables, from 14 different countries.

The most important recommendation is to eat more produce. Fruits and vegetables are an essential addition to a healthy diet. Organic fruits and vegetables are always the best choice; however, conventional produce may be the only variety available in some areas.

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George Zapo, CPH
George Zapo, CPH is certified in Public Health Promotion & Education. George focuses on writing informative articles promoting healthy behavior and lifestyles. Read more of George's articles at his website: