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June 13th, 2011
06:30 AM ET

Apples top 2011 'dirty dozen' list, says group

Apples are the most chemically contaminated produce, says a new report by the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit focused on public health.

The report suggests buying organic apples instead of conventional, and names other fruits and vegetables that rank highest in pesticides. Organic produce is grown using materials of plant or animal origin, instead of chemicals. On the "dirty dozen" list are:

1. Apples

2. Celery

3. Strawberries

4. Peaches

5. Spinach

6. Imported nectarines

7. Imported grapes

8. Sweet bell peppers

9. Potatoes

10. Domestic blueberries

11. Lettuce

12. Kale/collard greens

The group also lists the "Clean 15," or those that rank lowest in pesticide residues. These are:

1. Onions

2. Sweet Corn

3. Pineapples

4. Avocado

5. Asparagus

6. Sweet peas

7. Mangoes

8. Eggplant

9. Domestic cantaloupe

10. Kiwi

11. Cabbage

12. Watermelon

13. Sweet Potatoes

14. Grapefruit

15. Mushrooms

"Though buying organic is always the best choice, we know that sometimes people do not have access to that produce or cannot afford it," EWG President Ken Cook said. "Our guide helps consumers concerned about pesticides to make better choices among conventional produce, and lets them know which fruits and vegetables they may want to buy organic."

However, United Fresh Produce, the trade association representing produce companies, calls the report "misleading."

In a statement to CNN, the group said:

"At a time when medical experts strongly urge Americans to realize the health benefits from eating more fruits and vegetables, it is irresponsible to mislead consumers with a sensational publicity stunt disguised as science. While its authors admit the 'health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure,' the Dirty Dozen list will almost certainly discourage many people from eating the recommended amounts of fresh produce and potentially diminish the nutrition and health of millions of Americans."

The EWG report is an update from the 2010 one. It is based on data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Samples were tested as they were normally eaten- washed, and sometimes peeled.

"The pesticide data that USDA publishes each year provides regulators, scientists, farmers, and consumers important insights about ongoing challenges as well as significant progress in the use of pesticides," a USDA spokesman said in a statement.

"Our annual report shows that overall pesticide residues found on foods tested are at levels below the tolerances set by the EPA."

Registered dietitian Ann Dunaway Teh has some advice for shoppers watching their wallets.

"If you are on a food budget but you are concerned about pesticide residue and whether or not you should be buying organic foods, then this guide may be a good place to start for buying organic foods," she said.

"The wider variety of fruits and vegetables that you eat, the lower your risk overall to pesticide residues."

She says peeling may help to remove some of the pesticide residue, but also lost are some of the nutrients and fiber.


soundoff (174 Responses)
  1. balh

    So all these fruits that are "dirty" just so happen to also have skins that are eaten. The cleaner fruits are obviously going to be the ones that are encased with a thick skin that no one eats.

    June 13, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jamie

      The reason the fruits with skins you peel have less pesticides, is because those are generally tougher and don't let the pesticides absorb through them. It's not necessarily because you don't eat them. Eatable skins absorb a lot more which lets more pesticides into the actual fruit.

      June 13, 2011 at 17:57 | Report abuse |
    • Blessed Geek

      The word I prefer is "edible" rather than "eatable".

      As a diversion, the words I prefer are ...
      obliged rather than obligated
      percent rather than percentage points ("percentage points" is one of the most ridiculous hyperbolatationationity I have encountered),
      toilet rather than bathroom (because obviously you cannot take a bath/shower in a room with no bathtub/shower and that "toilet" is already a French euphemism which means "dressing room").

      BTW, I still feel "organic" is a scam.

      June 13, 2011 at 19:38 | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      That makes absolutely no sense. Pesticides are sprayed on, Herbicides are sprayed on. They don't just sit on the 'skin' they are absorbed into the plant.

      June 13, 2011 at 20:15 | Report abuse |
    • Rog

      Ummm mushrooms aren't thick-skinned...so much for that theory.

      June 13, 2011 at 20:20 | Report abuse |
    • Tanya Hart | Root Wellness + Nutrition

      What's great about the EWG, is that they take into account the most commonly prepared and eaten ways we consume the fruits/veg on their list. So they'll peel a pineapple and test the inner flesh. They'll leave the skin on an apple and test it. They also take into account the fact that we all (are supposed) to wash the items before consuming. THEN they test.

      I also want to mention that there is no mention of GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Just because corn may have a low pesticide count, we must still beware of the GMOs present since corn, like soy, are the most often GMO grown crops.

      http://www.rootwellness.com
      http://rootwellness.com/post/2558030687/its-aliiive-beware-of-frankenfoods

      July 11, 2011 at 19:09 | Report abuse |
  2. Pamela

    Dirty Dozen? Dirty tactics, I say! I'm a university agriculture researcher. Amount of pesticide residues detected is different than pesticides detected at levels above the maximum residue level allowed allowed to remain in or on each treated food commodity. Everyone should know the saying "The dose makes the poison." The truth is that you ingest more carcinogens in 1 cup of coffee than in the entire pesticide residues on all the food you will eat in one year! The EPA/FDA sets the minimum allowed pesticide residues through more than 20 different types of tests conducted over as much as 10 years time. After all that science they set the maximum pesticide residue allowed at 1,000-fold higher than what actually may cause some type of effect. So...ask the publishers of that story how much of the residue tested was actually above the incredibly safe max allowed and remember that detection levels are quite low these days – down to parts per trillion!!! One part per billion is equivalent to 1 second in 32 years...1 part per trillion is the same as 1 second in 320 centuries!!! One website I know of states that the consumer should Re-evaluate before Re-acting. In addition to all that. as people have already metnioned, there are organic (non-synthetic) pesticides used in organic farming which also can be toxic. Besides, the U.S. enjoys one of the safest, most abundant, and nutritious food produced in the world. We spend approximately 9% of our income on food whereas people in other countris spend 50% of income on food. If conventional pesticides were no longer allowed, U.S. food prices would be increased by around 40% because not enough food would be produced to feed us all at the prices we currently enjoy. PEsticides are expensive and farmers eat their food, too, so they only apply the lowest amount necessary and use other integrated pest management, non-pesticide tactices including hand weeding, cultivating, and crop rotation. EAT THOSE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES – THEY ARE SAFE!

    June 13, 2011 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leslie

      Love everything you wrote! Check out an organic farmer. Do you think organic means no pesticide? Wrong! Organic means pesticide from an all natural source.

      June 13, 2011 at 18:11 | Report abuse |
    • Weed

      Can't argue with information like this presented in very professional way. Thanks.

      June 13, 2011 at 18:12 | Report abuse |
    • R Burns

      "Detectable" levels of poisons don't begin to touch harmful levels. Even a few, untraceable molecules of some substances can be life threatening for some individuals, and harmful in the long run for those who can "tolerate" them. I take claims of detectable levels of anything with a big grain of salt. Labels are allowed to carry "No --" when levels are below these amounts, yet the food may still be toxic to sensitive folks. There is far too much of this (as far as I'm concerned, any is too much).

      June 13, 2011 at 19:19 | Report abuse |
    • maryann

      http://www.foodsafetynews.com/Pesticide_Testing_Letter%5B1%5D.pdf

      June 14, 2011 at 10:11 | Report abuse |
    • avk

      I have allergic reaction on these chemicals specifically those used on apples, peaches and cherries. If I have organic version of these fruits, I don't have food allergy. Which sucks, I have to pay high price for organics for these or I cannot eat them. I ‘m not big fan of antihistamine with each bit of apple.

      August 3, 2011 at 17:38 | Report abuse |
    • Ivonne

      I live in the South of France and I always pruchase organic fresh products, because they are most vulnerable to chemical exposure. I find it ironic that some people (pretend to) think organic is an empty promise developed by marketers, or argue that they can not afford it when they torch most of their income on useless clothes and things. Whether organic or not, you should always compare products very closely to find valuable information. Food may very well be the bulk of my monthly expenses, and that is just about how well I treat my body.

      April 9, 2012 at 06:16 | Report abuse |
    • Russell

      Non-organic produce, peascielly certain items like the dirty dozen, are known to contain chemicals. These chemicals have been shown to collect in our bodies, including those of our children. Why wait for scientific evidence that farm chemicals are harmful? At one time, there wasn't scientific evidence that cigarettes cause cancer. Avoiding chemicals, including eating organic when possible, is just part of all-around healthy lifestyle.

      April 14, 2012 at 15:22 | Report abuse |
  3. Pamela

    Dirty Dozen? Dirty tactics, I say! I'm a university agriculture researcher. Amount of pesticide residues detected is different than pesticides detected at levels above the maximum residue level allowed to remain in or on each treated food commodity. Everyone should know the saying "The dose makes the poison." The truth is that you ingest more carcinogens in 1 cup of coffee than in the entire pesticide residues on all the food you will eat in one year! The EPA/FDA decides the maximum allowed pesticide residues through more than 20 different types of tests conducted over as much as 10 years time. After all that science they set the maximum pesticide residue allowed at 1,000-fold higher than what actually may cause some type of effect. So...ask the publishers of that story how much of the residue tested was actually above the incredibly safe max allowed and remember that detection levels are quite low these days – down to parts per trillion!!! One part per billion is equivalent to 1 second in 32 years...1 part per trillion is the same as 1 second in 320 centuries!!! One website I know of states that the consumer should Re-evaluate before Re-acting. In addition to all that. as people have already metnioned, there are organic (non-synthetic) pesticides used in organic farming which also can be toxic. Besides, the U.S. enjoys one of the safest, most abundant, and nutritious food produced in the world. We spend approximately 9% of our income on food whereas people in other countris may spend 50% or more of their income on food. If conventional pesticides were no longer allowed, U.S. food prices would be increased by around 40% because not enough food could be produced to feed us all at the prices we currently enjoy – damage from insects, diseases, and weeds would reduce yields and production. Pesticides are expensive and farmers eat their food, too, so they only apply the lowest amount necessary and use other integrated pest management, non-pesticide tactices including hand weeding, cultivating, and crop rotation. EAT THOSE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES – THEY ARE SAFE!

    June 13, 2011 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • elizabeth

      I commend you for coming out strong to refute the Environmental Working Group, report on public health. They failed to tell the public on what they base their report on..
      Thank you Pam

      June 13, 2011 at 19:29 | Report abuse |
    • maryann

      sounds like you might be a representative from: UNITED FRESH PRODUCE??? or a similar trade association? Individuals need to do their own research, not take a commentors advice on this topic – who knows who they are???

      June 14, 2011 at 09:58 | Report abuse |
    • Shakkeerpv

      The evidence of many more etaecnnrians today than fifty years ago does sound impressive; but to conclude this means organic, non-chemical foods have no effect on health is a stretch. Remember that those over 100 years old came of age before better living through chemistry became so ubiquitous. Perhaps this longevity has more to do with our conquest of infectious diseases in the period?I am shocked by current reports of so many young people (under 50) getting cancer, the epidemic of child autism, and even early-onset alzheimers, which was unheard of when I was young in the 80s. I think this is due to the chemical soup we are forced to live in, which is so complex, direct correlations to such disorders can't be proved. Except perhaps by process of elimination literally: detoxification protocols have been known to cure many chronic illnesses and even autism. I know this by experience, having cleared heavy metal poisoning from my personal polluted stream to my immense relief.Good science is dependent far more on the intentions and prejudices of the experimenter, than on any given set of measurements. It is a discipline which aims at objectivity, but that very objectivity inevitably exists within a frame of reference. So being alert to such frames of reference, being open-minded, is of the essence, keeping in mind that each conclusion reached must be provisional and temporary what we know so far.Always good to keep asking questions and to challenge any orthodox thinking, however hip, cool and trendy it appears: especially then. So we retain our receptivity to new ideas and connections, to what's really out there. Thus permaculture's emphasis on continuous observations of effects is one of my favorite lessons.

      March 5, 2012 at 21:02 | Report abuse |
  4. Veto

    First off, Pamela, how about state the NAME of your University, otherwise your entire paragraph has 1 part per trillion credibility.

    At any rate, screw "cancer from food", the biggest way you get cancer from eating food, is EATING TOO DAM MUCH FATTIES

    June 13, 2011 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mikey

      Touché, Veto! The toxins reside in the fat. The livers of the fauna that roam this earth encapsulate toxins, like RoundUp et al, with fat to protect the body from its carcinogenic effect. So, when you BBQ and that fat hits the fire? You are encapsulating your meat with its built up toxin (best to broil from the top and let the fat fall below). As for "Pamela," farmers have been screwed with Monsanto's Roundup Ready crops. Pumping more of their pesticides, fungicides, insecticides out on crops increases their revenue, not to mention control of industries. You should probably mention who funds your research along with what university you work with so that we can see that you are an honest broker of legitimate research. I was a bus. ad. major at San Jose State many years ago, but I remember, and have seen, how statistics can be skewed by the questions asked and the model used. And like Veto said, low levels, over a long period, can be just as deadly.

      June 15, 2011 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
  5. The straight dope

    I support Pamela on this one. I've worked in the food industry my entire life and am currently employed by one of the largest fresh vegetable importers on the East Coast. People who work in the industry laugh about stuff like this because the entire report is so misleading, especially to call it "The dirty dozen". Buying organic is a position championed by upper-middle class food pundits who shop at Whole Foods (ironically, one of my customers). Very recent history shows that while you may avoid the (unproven) long term effects of fruits and vegetables treated with low levels of pesticides, the more immediate risk comes in the form of organically grown products which have been treated with natural products. Take what's happening in Europe right now. Organic Mung Bean Sprouts have killed a total of 35 people and sickened hundreds. As stated in the second paragraph of this article, organic products are treated with natural products as opposed to chemical, therein lies the problem. E Coli occurs in animal feces which is used as fertilizer in order for a product to become certified "organic". I don't know about you, but I'd rather run the risk of getting cancer 40 years from now as opposed to dying a painful death where my kidneys shut down and my bowels evacuate blood until I die of dehydration 3 days after eating an organic product. Organic bananas are something we all look at each other and smile when someone orders them. If you want to know an even bigger joke in the food industry, look up the USDA guidelines for what a farmer has to do in order to qualify his chickens as "free range" which allows them to charge a premium.

    The long and short of it is that organic is basically a joke. If these people were really serious about food safety they would seriously consider taking a look at the genetically engineered foods Monsanto invented a few years back which allowed food to fend off bugs by altering the genetic code of the plant thus making the plant undesirable to pests. I personally know a lot of people who didn't know the first thing about food and jumped on the Michelle Obama food wagon and are now profiting because they started lobbying panels in DC and they get loads of money from other people who don't know the first thing about food. I could go on and on about how organic is actually wasteful because of low crop yields and how it's just not feasible to produce food for the masses in an economical way but there's really no point. As long as you guys keep buying organic I'll keep selling it and it helps me pay for my new house at the shore.

    June 13, 2011 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • R Burns

      "I don't know about you, but I'd rather run the risk of getting cancer 40 years from now as opposed to dying a painful death where my kidneys shut down and my bowels evacuate blood until I die of dehydration 3 days after eating an organic product." How about if this happens when I eat the chemicals now, instead of waiting 40 years to see it happening with the cancer (yeah, that's no fun either)? If we actually knew how many people are suffering and dying from exposure to agricultural chemicals (instead of thinking these diseases are caused by mysterious auto-inflammatory processes) we would outlaw current food production practices in a heartbeat! Yes, the world has more people in it now, but they are in large part suffering more pain, disability, and yes, obesity because of the production and processing to make so much food so attractive and cheap. It's not a better way! The safest way to produce and consume food is with truly natural, chemical-free processes and safe handling and cooking methods. Raw, except for folks who are conditioned to local raw foods, can be deadly-so don't eat raw. Steam veggies, cook meat thoroughly, don't eat raw eggs. People are too lazy, too trusting, and too used to getting what they want without forethought. And because it's all about the money, society caves in.

      June 13, 2011 at 19:34 | Report abuse |
    • Ant Deva

      "Dope" Re: GMO's
      Ignorance is no excuse for education. People still have to think for themselves. What about the effects to soil structure of mono-cropping? And damage to the biodiversity of insect population that is part of our Web of Life and the nutrients provided by all plants and animals as they are returned to dirt. Watch the Dirt the Movie and educate yourself... before you go back to sleep.
      Personally, I don't like what has happened to the bee population at the hands of GMO seed crops. Sound familiar yet?

      June 13, 2011 at 20:23 | Report abuse |
    • JJL

      I'm not sure even where to begin as far as how misinformed you are, but one thing I will say is that Ant Deva is dead on about GMO's. You're seriously in support of Monsanto, one of the most unethical corporations in the world? Their gene patenting is responsible for farmers in third world countries starving to death because they cannot afford to buy seeds. Monsanto Canada sued a farmer in 1997 for accidental contamination of their crop with Monsanto's seed, and claimed patent infringement. Pesticides and biotech are a dangerous threat to the heath and biodiversity of our planet, no to mention human health. Do not listen to this drivel. While I do agree that the regulations for "certified organic" need to be stricter, there is NO harm in eating organic. Don't put poison in your body, no matter how little it may seem, it's as simple as that!

      June 14, 2011 at 03:32 | Report abuse |
    • Howie

      Well said and absolutely spot on! GMO is the only solution for the future. As soon as we get rid of the knee jerk luddites out there, technology will work with nature to provide the safest most sustainable food possible. Organic just isn't it, and actually does much more harm than good.

      June 14, 2011 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
  6. Bernadette Martin

    Shop LOCAL and support your regional growers!
    That's the best you can do.
    The Corn on the OK list is really not OK, GMO Corn uses less pesticide applicaitons but has Round Up modified into the seed coat. NASTY!

    June 13, 2011 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Howie

      Another example of how completely misinformed the anti-technology crowd is. The round up ready corn does not have round up in any part of the plant. It has been modified to be tolerant of round up in the environment so the chemical can be used to kill non tolerant plant life – ie: weeds. Get a clue before you protest or you just sound like an idiot.

      June 14, 2011 at 11:01 | Report abuse |
  7. cpc65

    Well, back to Butterfingers and Baby Ruth bars.

    June 13, 2011 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fefe

      I ALWAYS buy organic. I'm a full time ratduage student (i.e. I currently have a very low income), and I can easily manage to afford organic foods at Whole Foods and the local farmers' markets. Organic growing practices are infinitely better for the environment and for our health than conventional practices and that goes for meat AND produce. If all of our food was produced organically, the world would be a better place (and we'd actually be able to produce more food).

      April 14, 2012 at 13:37 | Report abuse |
  8. CHD

    I hate chemicals in any shape, size or form. Period. You may bring data, studies, analysis, etc....but chemical is chemical. Period. I agreed that dose make it poison but you know what, I hate chemical. Period.

    June 13, 2011 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rog

      There are chemicals in your body.

      June 13, 2011 at 20:23 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Yes, all chemicals are pure evil. Especially the ones that make up, well, everything in the freaking universe. Get a clue!

      June 13, 2011 at 23:53 | Report abuse |
  9. R Burns

    Organic doesn't mean pesticide, herbicide or any other chemical-free! It just means the sprays allowed are on the FDA list of "certified" organic chemicals. That can and does include many petroleum products and toxic plant extracts. I'm so reactive to traces of these substances that they cause internal bleeding and skin hemorrhaging! Not to mention the pain, fatigue and frequently ER visits if I encounter these poisons. I'm forced to grow some of my own food, have found a few producers that don't spray, and take my chances if I have a craving for anything other than the 10 items on my list of safe foods. Nobody should have to live this way, and I often think of the number of people suffering with lupus, inflammatory bowel diseases, severe migraines, etc who have no clue what they are really suffering from. I'm lucky to have figured it out and so far been able to "deal" with it. It's painful, expensive, restricting, isolating and disabling. We can do better!

    June 13, 2011 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Yun

      We grow some of our own produce in the sumemr, but the rest of the year we rarely buy organic. The selection in our local grocery stores is not great and the thought of driving 70-75 miles round trip to the closest Whole Foods makes the carbon footprint and pollution not worth it. We do buy at farmer's markets and belonged to a CSA last sumemr but it was not organic as the owner weighed the cost of being certified and didn't feel it was justified. As more and more industrial farm operations move into the organic market, the standard for what is officially considered organic does not equate to the use of no chemicals. This has created some tension between the small 100% organic growers, larger operations and the certifying group. The bottom line seems to be that unless you personally know the farm/grower, you don't what you are getting when you buy organic at the store. Also, I don't believe there is any quantifiable data demonstrating either higher nutritional content or better health from eating organic produce.

      March 3, 2012 at 19:27 | Report abuse |
  10. organic csa farmer

    As an Organic CSA farmer I can say that anyone who doubts the legitimacy and safety of organically grown produce HAS NO IDEA WHAT they are talking about. I just became certified and let me tell you it is very rigorous. I use zero pesticides and rely on Nature's balance with it's own predators to control any unwanted pests as many organic farmers do. If you think organic farming is not practical, I laugh as with less than an acre in production I supply 50 families with fresh veggies all year round (though I do reside in Hawaii). People also prefer organic because most often it just tastes better.

    June 13, 2011 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • elizabeth

      I also prefer organic produce because most often it just tastes better. That is where the difference ends.

      June 13, 2011 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
    • R Burns

      I have personally spoken to the FDA and have seen a list of 142 chemicals they allow to be used in "certified" organic production. Kudos to you for not using pesticides and for going the extra mile to grow without even these organic chemicals, but not all certified organic farmers do so. If you put 2 potatoes side by side, one organic but sprayed and the other untreated and grown naturally I will be able to eat the second one safely but end up in the ER with the "certified organic" one. This has happened to me several times and I finally gave up and am now growing a few potatoes as a treat, but no longer trust the ones in the natural store. One farmer who supplies to them has unsprayed potatoes and I await his crop! Other vegetables, including cabbage, are the same. Both will be organic, one will be poisoned and the other safe. Because of the demand for organic food now, too many producers are giving in and using what's on the allowed chemical list-and poisoning the product while still riding under the cloak of certification. In addition to that, any processed food allowed to carry the FDA's "Certified Organic" seal is allowed to have up to 5% of non-organic ingredients. And that's a lot of chemicals!

      June 13, 2011 at 19:47 | Report abuse |
    • Howie

      Sorry, but reality must intrude on your happy dream. Plant based toxins are just as toxic as those developed in a lab. Usually the plant-based ones are much more persistent in the environment as the lab-developed ones are designed to dissipate. Also, I have never encountered organic produce that even comes close to the quality of non-organic. Organic just means smaller fruit, more blemishes, less nutritional value and poorer taste.

      June 14, 2011 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
    • Chantelle

      I think we can all figure out who "Howie" works for, lol. Thanks for posting this, Organic farmer!

      June 16, 2011 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
  11. lucianne

    How bout some common sense? If the product comes in a box and lists twenty-eight ingredients, none of which you can pronounce except for the high fructose corn syrup and the trans-fats, leave it in the store. If it's a nice minimally processed, no anti-biotic chicken, cook it (throughly) and eat it. If it's a potato or a peach grown organically by a reliable farmer that you know, pig out. Gete some excercise, stay thin, eat some sustainable fish and the widest variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that you can find, concentrating on the flavor and texture, and you are likely to live a long and healthy life. And stop with the sound-bite thinking.

    June 13, 2011 at 20:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. J Man

    Duh, everything is bad these days. If you are alive and breathing, you are at risk of getting sick and perhaps...yes, dying.

    June 13, 2011 at 20:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Rosalva

    What does not cause cancer. Not to long we were told coffee causes cancer. Now it's good for you. Go figure they need to make up their minds..
    Let us eat in peace.

    June 13, 2011 at 21:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Confused Consumer

    Sorry but the math is not working for me. I am looking at the USDA report that thie dirty dozen is supposed to be based on and do not get it. According to the USDA report 48 different pesticides were in fact detected on apples but on 2.6% of all samples (3717 detects out of 140,881 samples). It almost looks like the report is backwards since 97.4% of the apples tested had no detectable pesticide residues.

    June 13, 2011 at 21:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. mjh

    ENOUGH ALREADY! WHAT HAPPENED TO GOOD OLD FASHIONED COMMON SENCE/ MAYBE TOO MUCH TIME ON THE INTERNET HAS CAUSED GLOBAL PANIC

    June 14, 2011 at 00:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. mjh

    GROW UP PEOPLE AND IT WILL GO AWAY

    June 14, 2011 at 00:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Kim

    WATCH FOOD INC. We only eat organic produce & organic NON GMO products. We only buy meat from local farmers, not meat that comes off of feed lots and packaged by slaughterhouses. It's a PERSONAL CHOICE and it's the way it is. The fact that there is a whole slew of mean and vile comments towards people choosing alternative food choices, just goes to show how far the ideology of BIGOTRY has permeated EVERY facet of our lives. I say, feed your family the way you want, let me feed mine the way I want and don't trash others for their choices. We're all intelligent beings here, each with the freedom to use our own brain, there is NOTHING wrong with that! Eventually we'll all die anyway. I say do a study on what type of eaters decrease the surplus population quicker and lay the argument to rest! lol

    June 14, 2011 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mahaanole

      The problem is that these reports and studies say they are based on science, when they in reality they are not. They should just claim to be lifestyle choices, and not to be scientific reports promoting scientifically proven healthy choices. If anything, irrational food evangelism comes more from the "alternatives," and rarely are their claims based on evidence gained from well-controlled, scientific studies.

      July 11, 2011 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
  18. HonestOrganic

    What people don't realize is that organic apples are grown with antibiotics! As allowed by the organic rules, organic apples are sprayed with tetracycline and streptomycin. Without these antibiotic sprays, organic apple production would be wiped out.

    June 15, 2011 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Matthew

    I do love how intense people are about this issue. It's important, and I hope this country can come to some sort of science-based consensus. In this article in particular, I would have liked to see some numbers associated with this list, because the list is not very meaningful without a numerical comparison. It doesn't mean the implied conclusions are wrong, but it is rather suspect that the author does not trust either my intelligence or my attention span enough to include that data. That said, I will continue to buy organic as long as I can afford to do so. Because no matter how little synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers end up in my apple peel, a whole lot of it is getting washed off the fields and orchards into our drinking water.

    June 15, 2011 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mikey

      Matthew, it would be nice to back up this list with a link to the statistics for those of us that can read them and respond more intelligently to this discussion. There are a few root vegetables in this list, but I would have liked to have seen where others fell on, or off, the list. Is sweet corn on the good list because it has not become trapped in the Monsanto gmo death grip, yet? What about the corn they produce? What about carrots? Yes, it would be nice to have a more complete list than just this short list, along with the stats on where they failed or succeeded.

      June 15, 2011 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
  20. LP

    The bottom line is that some foods are better produced organically, and with others it doesn't make much difference (to the food at least, the environment still suffers under conventional agriculture).

    Hey Straight Dope, the reason it's so ridiculous what passes for "free range" chicken is because the USDA created national organic standards that are weak and highly influenced by the agricultural lobby. They all want to cash in on "organic" just like you do. Serious third-party certifiers have much more stringent standards, and unfortunately it is up to the consumer to try to keep up with what all these labels really mean. And I'm not an upper middle class Whole Foods shopper. I'm barely middle class and I shop at my local health food stores and local (conventional) small farms. I appreciate studies like this (even taken with a grain of salt) because it does help me make decisions at the store. I don't buy everything organic and wouldn't even if I could afford it.

    Hey Pamela, "Besides, the U.S. enjoys one of the safest, most abundant, and nutritious food produced in the world." I don't know how you can make that claim. We import a ton of food and many countries from whom we import are allowed to use pesticides imported from the US that are not even allowed to be used here. So pesticides that are considered too toxic to be used by US farmers on US food are used by foreign farmers on food they export to us. I'm not sure that's "safe food".
    "We spend approximately 9% of our income on food whereas people in other countris may spend 50% or more of their income on food." I think this probably has less to do with the cost of food and more to do with the disparity in incomes between the US and these "other countries" you refer to. "...not enough food could be produced to feed us all at the prices we currently enjoy – damage from insects, diseases, and weeds would reduce yields and production". I think it is a fallacy that large-scale conventional agriculture has higher yields than small-scale organic or low input agriculture. There are some good studies that indicate that the opposite is true because large-scale agriculture tends to be monoculture whereas small-scale agriculture is often inter-cropped or multi-copped or whatever the term is for planting multiple crops in the same field. Think of the admittedly over-used but valid beans-squash-corn example. Sure you get less corn per acre than a regular monoculture corn field, but you also get beans and squash. So actually more biomass per acre.

    We could go on debating forever on this one, but in the end it is the fad that tends to destroy a movement with real merit. Just like what is happening now with "green-washing".

    June 16, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. CalgarySandy

    "If you are on a food budget but you are concerned about pesticide residue and whether or not you should be buying organic foods, then this guide may be a good place to start for buying organic foods," she said.

    So, how is this guide a good place to start buying organic given the person has already noted in the same sentence! that some people cannot afford to do so. I cannot afford to do so and knowing which things are worse does not bring me more money to spend.

    June 19, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Porca

      100% organic. I am signle and I know when I marry and have kids someday I may have to make some changes but for now I am organic all the way. I just wanted to say I have enjoyed every signle tip all summer long and think it's great Jill that you take the time to do these for people like me. I have listened to all of your tape recording and think they have been grea8888!!

      September 11, 2012 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
  22. BepBurezels

    Credo che si fanno errori.

    June 26, 2011 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Zuni

      Thanks so much for coming out for the fun run at Dick's Sporting Goods in Los Angeles!Like you, I only rcsuhape organic produce and go without when I can't. Thanks to the level of consumer awareness, it's getting much easier to find organic produce these days. There are several farmer's market gatherings (usually Sat. mornings) all over the LA area where local farmers come together to offer their produce at really reasonable prices, and it's great to see that some of them practice organic farming. Growing your own would be best of course if you have the land and the passion to do it well! Thanks to you, I will definitely keep exploring!

      April 8, 2012 at 09:02 | Report abuse |
  23. Mahaanole

    Fear is easier to spread than real information:

    http://redgreenandblue.org/2010/10/12/when-fear-wins-fallout-from-the-dirty-dozen-list/

    July 11, 2011 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • YH

      So True, this just makes me have anxiety... Is there any info worth printing on the possibility of an EFFECTIVE fruit/veg wash? I didn't see it, I say don't print something and leave the obvious NEXT subject completely hanging.

      January 10, 2013 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.