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July 15th, 2010
06:35 PM ET

'Dirty dozen' list misleading, farmers say

The Alliance for Food and Farming,  a non-profit group of farmers and producers, released a report Thursday challenging the Environmental Working Group's  list of fruits and vegetables you might want to stay away from. The list was released by EWG more than a decade ago in a report titled "Shopper's Guide To Pesticides In Produce." It's called the '"Dirty Dozen of Produce "and details fruit and vegetables that are healthy versus those the group alleges are packed with pesticides.

The Dirty Dozen, starting with the most contaminated, is celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, kale/collard greens, potatoes and imported grapes. And according to EWG, if you're eating five fruits and vegetables daily from the Dirty Dozen list you're consuming on average 10 pesticides a day.

But a panel of experts who reviewed the Dirty Dozen for AFF says current science linking pesticide residues found on fruits and veggies to poor health is simply not there. A panel of five scientists with expertise in nutrition, toxicology and risk assessment say the list is misleading consumers about the dangers. They say detecting residue doesn't mean the produce is unsafe.

"We have a real problem in the United States. People are not eating enough fruits and vegetables," said Dr. Carl Keen, professor of nutrition and internal medicine at the University of California, Davis and a member of the expert panel that reviewed the Dirty Dozen report. "We are supposed to have five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and right now most people are only eating a couple. The Dirty Dozen list is damaging because it can confuse the public into thinking that fruits or vegetables represent a risk to them. This is just simply not the case."

So AFF is launching a new website to give consumers a different perspective and stress the need to eat more fresh fruits and veggies.

"Like the organization behind the Dirty Dozen report, our farmer-members hope to utilize the power of public information to protect public health. This is why we have developed this website – to provide information that assures consumers it's not only OK to eat their favorite fruits and vegetables, but that it's the best thing you can do for your health and the health of your children," said Marilyn Dolan, executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming. "What we are telling consumers really isn't anything different from what your mom and grandmother have been saying for years – eat your fruits and vegetables."

But EWG questioned whether the new report was just about health.. "It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the chemical farming coalition members (the Alliance for Food and Farming) are less concerned about EWG's "dirty dozen" list, or the health and girth of the American people, than they are about losing so much market share in recent years to organic fruits and vegetables," said EWG President Ken Cook. "If chemical agriculture and the Alliance for Food and Farming want to promote healthier diets, it should stop attacking critics and focus on growing vegetables and fruits that are chemical-free – and also tasty."


soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Burbank

    Actually for people that are lucky enough to have yards, you are probably better off growing as much as possible yourself. At least that way you know what is in or on them. Oganic is good, but it can still pick up pesticides blowing over from neighboring farms from wind blown crop duster overspray and pesticide laced dust.

    July 15, 2010 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scott

      THis article is a total BS scare tactic. I grew up around apple and peach orchards back in the early 70s and I've been eating these fruits and veggies ever since and us kids used to pick them right off the farmer's trees. Big deal and we never got sick once. There isn't enough pesticide to hurt a flea unless you ate 100000 apples in one sitting, but you'd probably die from overeating anyway. I'm not going to go chicken little because its obvious that there are pest's on these things. It's ok people; just go home and enjoy them.

      July 15, 2010 at 21:34 | Report abuse |
    • Dutch

      I have a degree in Chemistry and I can tell you that you inhale more poisons walking a block down any major city street than you could ever eat in a day. Do yourself a favor – eat your fruits and vegetables and don't worry about it.

      July 16, 2010 at 08:04 | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      @Scott – Seriously?

      Stop trying to spin this around as if the use of insecticides are safe. Insecticides such as chlorpyrifos and methyl parathion, among many others, are very dangerous and used in almost every crop application. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 100% of individuals who consumed fruits/vegetables treated with these products showed residue in their urine. Methyl parathion interferes with the normal way that the nerves and brain function. Even in tiny amounts, I don't want a neuro-toxin floating around my body because I'm eating an apple a day.

      If you are handed a glass of water and you were told that this had a very very small amount of rat poison, small enough to not do any long term damage to you, but enough so that trace mounts can be found throughout your body, would you drink it once? How about once a day? a week? how about drinking multiple glasses each day for the rest of your life..

      Eventually you have to wonder what the long term effects of such exposure, albeit minor, will have on your body. I don't mind spending the extra buck for a pound of non-methyl parathion apples for the possibility of avoiding a fight with cancer 20 years down the road.

      July 16, 2010 at 08:10 | Report abuse |
    • Jim in Bisbee

      @Scott: I disagree that pesticides on fruit are totally safe. We have an epidemic of girls reaching puberty younger and younger, and one suspect is the use of estrogen mimics as pesticides. These are "safe" in that they lack many of the untoward side-effects of past popular pesticides, but instead they are having another unintended effect on young girls who are really not ready to be reaching puberty, some as young as 4.
      Anecdotally, which is also what your personal experience is, many years ago I suddenly developed an allergy to apples and other related fruits (cherries, almonds, apricots, plums). My throat would start to close when I ate them. This allergy is gone, and I suspect that in fact I was allergic to Alar, the popular pesticide from that time which had been a target of environmentalists. The resulting furor, probably factual but unsupported by good research, led to the "Veggie Libel Laws" which came out to protect farmers.
      I am concerned that the AFF is not worried about the pesticides they admit are present on these crops, but rather that they indicate that scientists have found no strong evidence to support the contention that they are dangerous. I think there is enough evidence to strongly suggest they are indeed unsafe, and it would be prudent as a parent to avoid giving these to my children.

      July 16, 2010 at 08:55 | Report abuse |
    • satirev

      @Daniel

      Warfarin is rat poison. Warfarin is also goes by the brand name Coumadin, one of the most widely prescribed
      anti-coagulants. Basically, people ingest "rat poison" on a regular basis to prevent the possibility of death from a blood clot. The real issue is that science is science and it doesn't change regardless of human fear and/or emotion. And unfortunately a large portion of the population, even some with science degrees, have an extremely poor understanding of even the most basic science.

      July 16, 2010 at 09:02 | Report abuse |
    • Seth

      Why do people always think that Organic means "without pesticides"??? They still cover their fruits/veggies with pesticides, they are just ORGANIC pesticides, not synthetic. Organic pesticides can be just as harmful to humans as synthetic pesticides. Do you really think that these organic farmers can profitably grow fruits and vegetables in mass quantities without adding chemicals???

      July 16, 2010 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
    • Harry(NJ)

      @Daniel, actually people ingest "poisons" everyday, your drinking water contain flouride which is know to have brain altering properties is large quantities, but also assists in oral Hygine. One of the major issues here is that folks forget that in order to produce crops for a large number of people you almost have to use pesticides. Why? because bugs reproduce rapidly and can whipe out an entire crop. I planted Squash in a my back yard a couple of years ago and used no pesticide, guess what happend? Squash bugs destroyed all five of my squash plants. The next year I dusted all of my squash plants with Ortho bug killer for gardens, didn't see any squah bug damage for the rest of the season. I yielded about 30 squashes after that. I can't imagine how difficult it would be if I had farm hundreds of crops.

      July 16, 2010 at 10:44 | Report abuse |
    • Mags2Cents

      If the US has the safest produce in the world why is it always topping the list for most allergic, obese, dependent on pharmaceuticals, depressd, etc ??? One apple may not kill you but years of eating chemically doused produce does take its toll...we just don't like to make the connection because it's easier to be ignorant. I grew up in Poland and we consumed raw milk, fresh eggs from hens that ran free, produce that grew wild or in our own yards that was never sprayed and somehow people were healthy and happy...I never knew a person with Pollen allergies or Chronic depression until I came here.

      July 16, 2010 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
    • alan

      @daniel

      silly argument. there are plenty of chemicals in our water. pharmaceuticals, nitrites, minerals. how about the chlorine that is added? dids you know that flouride has been shown to cause bladder cancer? chemicals are all around us.

      July 16, 2010 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
    • Howie

      Organic produce actually has more toxic residues than non-organic. Just because something is 'natural' doesn't mean it is not toxic. The lab-produced pesticides are designed to dissipate rapidly. The organics are not. When you spray a field of fruit trees with chemical pesticides, you can work in the rows within a few hours (usually 6 at most). When you use 'Organic' pesticides you have to stay out of the rows for at least 24 hours and in some cases 48. All fruit gets sprayed with pesticides, those certified organic just are MORE toxic than those designed in a lab.

      July 16, 2010 at 13:06 | Report abuse |
    • mimic

      @Jim in Bisbee

      "We have an epidemic of girls reaching puberty younger and younger, and one suspect is the use of estrogen mimics as pesticides."

      I'd actually guess it's from the water and not the food. Various studies have found estrogen in tap water at sufficient levels to cause deformities in fish and amphibians. Without knowing the specific concentrations in the water and on the food, it's just a educated guess.

      July 19, 2010 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
  2. Kathleen Duke

    This article is so badly skewed it borders on irresponsible. I noticed that the unnamed "panel of experts" who reviewed the Dirty Dozen is never identified, and that the single researcher quoted tries to make it sound as though EWG is discouraging consumption of fruits and vegetables. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

    The EWG, in it's Dirty Dozen web content, encourages eating MORE fruits and vegetables, and came out with the Dirty Dozen so shoppers can stop obsessing over organic, or limit it to only the "worst offenders." The incompetent reporter of this story didn't bother to mention that the flip side of the card lists the CLEAN FIFTEEN - the fifteen cleanest fruits and vegetables based on their pesticide and fungicide testing.

    As for the proof of harm –are you kidding? There are literally thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles on this topic, most of which find that pesticides cause harm in animals and humans, and none of which has even begun to look at the synergistic effects of multiple-pesticide exposure. The latter is a big unknown, and it's perfectly reasonable for some consumers to decide they're rather buy organic while the scientific community continues to debate the issue.

    The comments by Dr. Keen constitute a logically dishonest move known as a "straw man argument" - he mischaracterizes the whole purpose and message of the EWG's Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen cards (again failing to even mention that the list of cleanest vegetables is even longer than the list of the dirtiest), and then knocks it down with an inappropriate response. This is shamefully misleading.

    So what's your take away from this article? That CNN's reporters are either hopelessly biased or hopelessly sloppy and their editors are either stoned or AWOL. Welcome to CNN, the counter-informative website.

    July 15, 2010 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • geoffj4

      Kathleen here are the experts: http://safefruitsandveggies.com/experts/

      You can download the report from that site too – you should read it. For note the panel report is being submitted for peer review (something the E.W.G. has not done.)

      July 15, 2010 at 21:59 | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      The reporters at CNN only write what they are told to write, period. Same at any other news service.

      July 16, 2010 at 10:26 | Report abuse |
    • Nicholas

      The CNN article omits one critical fact – the EWG's shopper's guide actually reads: "buy these organic". This is an affirmitive statement imploring shoppers to buy the 12 fruits/vegetables, so long as they are organic. The article states that the EWG created a "list of fruits and vegetables you might want to stay away from". Nowhere – not once – does the EWG list tell shoppers to "stay away" from anything. There is a world of difference between telling shoppers to buy (organic) fruits and vegetables, and telling them to "stay away" from fruits and vegetables. Each one of us can decide for ourselves whether or not to purchase organic or sustainably grown products. That decision may be based on science, intuition, anecdotal evidence or personal preference – all of which are subjective. What is not subjective is the wording of the EWG list. It does not say "stay away" from fruits and vegetables – it simply says "buy these organic". See the list for yourself: http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php

      July 16, 2010 at 10:32 | Report abuse |
  3. heather

    I always buy fruits and veggies organic. always. especially for young children, it's very important. why eat pesticide laced fruits if you don't have to?

    July 15, 2010 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • geoffj4

      Heather – the point that the new research, the experts and the Alliance is making is that the conventional stuff isn't "Laced" with pesticides. It's saying that if there were residues found it's at such a small amount that there is really no risk.

      You use bleach for your whites and gas for your car but since your exposure risk is so low for those things you still enjoy the benefits right?

      July 15, 2010 at 22:07 | Report abuse |
    • whatnext

      If fruits and vegetables are "laced" with pesticides, why aren't millions of people seriously ill from them? Why aren't the millions of us who have been eating lots of them for decades dead? I enjoy Annie's mac and cheese (with veggies mixed in). I buy the regular kind, that quietly says "Made With Organic Pasta" on the box. Or I can buy the version that says ORGANIC, and pay nearly twice as much. As long as it makes you feel good.

      July 15, 2010 at 22:23 | Report abuse |
    • Anony

      The objective of this article is for you to buy more fruits and vegetables. However, I feel that in ways it may be misleading as well as some comments. To anyone reading this, here are some points you may want to research yourself.
      1. Even organically grown fruits and veggies are sprayed with pesticides. It has to be under specific concentrations/levels which is regulated by government agencies.
      2. Yes, you do need to eat healthy which includes plenty of veggies and fruits.
      3. It may be in your best interest to grow your own if possible. The disadvantages of growing your own are that you need resources such as skills dealing with gardening problems such as pests, land resources, a great deal of time, and anything else growing your own food entails. The climate is a serious factor that needs to be considered.
      4. No matter what always wash veggies and fruits this will help remove some of the pesticides.
      5. There are some studies which have analyzed the chemicals found in human blood. The chemicals found have been a wide variety. Some effects from chemicals may not be immediate, especially the ones linked to cancer.
      6. Always question the claims by so called "experts". Some of them are paid by those with special interests.

      July 16, 2010 at 00:43 | Report abuse |
    • mara lee

      It's hard in a big city to buy locally – I know, I live in Chicago – but check out Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for weekly/monthly boxes of organic, locally grown produce. Sometimes they deliver and sometimes you pick it up, but either way, it's sustainable agriculture, and they hand-pick the veggies/fruits you get.

      Except for winter, I buy local produce at farmer's markets, but winters I'll do CSA boxes....yummy and organic 🙂

      July 16, 2010 at 10:35 | Report abuse |
    • Howie

      Organic produce actually has more toxic residues than non-organic. Just because something is 'natural' doesn't mean it is not toxic. The lab-produced pesticides are designed to dissipate rapidly. The organics are not. When you spray a field of fruit trees with chemical pesticides, you can work in the rows within a few hours (usually 6 at most). When you use 'Organic' pesticides you have to stay out of the rows for at least 24 hours and in some cases 48. All fruit gets sprayed with pesticides, those certified organic just are MORE toxic than those designed in a lab.

      July 16, 2010 at 13:09 | Report abuse |
  4. Mark

    Organic = fruits and vegatables that cost 3x more and grown in cow manure. I'm a farmer.

    July 15, 2010 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • vickeyd

      Thank you for being a farmer.. You have my deepest gratitude...thanks to all the farmers out there....Please do not giveup, or sell out to agri-business...THAT'S when we will all have to worry. All the citizens of the US and CANADA ( I am a Canuck)..must work together to keep healthy food growing to feed our people. Put aside the politics, the religion, the sniping...whatever, and get down to growing healthy food for North America. By the way..I travel in Canada, and in the US a lot and really wish you guys would put a sign out in front of your fields to tell me what I am looking at as I drive by ! Thanks !

      July 16, 2010 at 01:16 | Report abuse |
  5. Frank

    Is there anything wrong with not using pesticides?? I would much rather have fresh untainted fruit that is not perfect then the perfect looking no-tasting need to wash 5 times to get all the chemicals off fruit in the stores today.

    July 15, 2010 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TVW

      The only thing wrong with not using pesticides is that crop output is diminished. Though, the reality of the situation is that pesticides are used to preserve/protect the crops in order to maximize output. In order to maintain output, while eliminating pesticides, more acreage would be required to account for crop loss. Farm land is a limited resource and is shrinking with the expansion of cities/metropolitan areas. When you're (the US) playing the role of the world's bread basket, the market demand necessitates the use of pesticides – or genetically engineered crops that are disease and pest resistant.

      July 16, 2010 at 08:35 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      If you don't mind everything costing 3x as much and being mangled by all the pests that have already eaten it, then pesticides are useless.

      July 16, 2010 at 08:51 | Report abuse |
    • Harry(NJ)

      This is what I have been getting at, if you grow without pesticides you have deal with crop loss. Bugs like fruits and Veggies more than you. And even with all of the pesticides in the world you still lose some crops because bugs get into them. Ever buy lettace or apples in the grocery store and find a worm or black bettle in it? Do you still consume the produce or throw it away because you saw a bug?

      July 16, 2010 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
  6. naco

    10 years they had to clear up their act and all they have to say is pesticides don't hurt you. YOU BLEW IT BIG TIME!

    July 16, 2010 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Esther

    I really hope this article is not implying that people are going to eat even less fruits and vegetables because of the dirty dozen. Thanks to big corporations- America has become really unhealthy via fast food, processed foods and the swarms of chemicals used as flavorings, preservatives- a little poison here and there. Please people- do eat fruits and vegetables- go organic wherever you can. And if you can't – just avoid gross processed and fast food- you don't need that many chemicals and ingredients in your body. Please make yourselves informed- you will see food in a whole different light.

    July 16, 2010 at 01:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Waterfalls

    I think organic fruits taste better, so there must be a reason. Especially with apples, grapes, and strawberries, I believe the reason is fewer chemicals. If you can TASTE the difference, how can it not be significant to health? How do we know how many cases of illness (like cancers) are a result of decades of chemical exposure? I think the fact is, we don't know.

    PS: Why don't people eat more produce? It's because it's so hard to find ripe tasty produce. Most of what you buy in the store isn't anywhere close to being ripe. They pick it way too early!

    July 16, 2010 at 03:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aaron

      I guarantee that you would have failed the test Penn & Teller did to a bunch of organic only people just like they did.

      July 16, 2010 at 10:32 | Report abuse |
  9. Todca

    Everytime I see this dirty dozen articlce I see the same guy saying he grew up on pesticides.. well I'm not eating them and they can grow organic and I will eat them. Life is too short to risk it.

    July 16, 2010 at 05:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. doug

    In fact, the Alliance for Food and Farming represents a number of mostly California-based farm and pesticide groups including the California Strawberry Commission, the California Farm Bureau Federation, the California Association of Pest Control Advisers, Western Growers, Sunkist Growers, the Produce Marketing Association, the California Tomato Farmers, and the California Table Grape Commission.
    http://www.alternet.org/food/147448/meet_the_food_industry_front_groups_that_push_for_carcinogens_in_your_food?page=entire

    July 16, 2010 at 05:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Robin

    Yeah, pesticides aren't a health risk. But two in four of us will get cancer in our lifetimes and one in four will die from it. Thanks for the brilliant information, Panel. These statements are so irresponsible that they should not be published/publicized.

    Obviously fruit and veggies without chemicals on them, no matter how "little" the amount is claimed to be, are better for you, and the planet. Our water systems are totally contaminated with pesticide runoff. I live in an agricultural province in Canada where we have the highest rates of asthma, all due to the pesticides that you say are harmless.

    July 16, 2010 at 06:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Richard

    As several have pointed out it's a simple choice, we can choose to eat fruits and vegetables grown with pesticides and chemical fertilizers (and try to convince ourselves that it is not harmful) or we can eat the organically grown alternatives and not even have to debate the health risks. Would we rather breathe clean air or polluted air? Drink clean water or polluted water? Those that say a little pesticide residue and chemical pollutants won't hurt us are akin to those that say a little arsenic won't kill us. But what about the effects of all these small amounts of toxins everywhere in our environment adding up in our systems over time? Well, it's no problem some say. The fact that industrialized societies have even more diseases now than ever in history is not worrisome because the pharmaceutical industry will sell us drugs with side effects to help fight off the myriad diseases caused by all the pollutants in our environment.

    Chemical farming destroys the soil of living organisms. This is a fact. The runoff from chemical and pesticide farming pollutes our fresh water streams and rivers. This is a fact. Those individuals who claim this is not a serious problem are naive at best.

    If you grow two plots of vegetables in your backyard, one organic (using compost for fertilizer and natural insect repellants) and the other using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, it is cheaper to grow organically because there is nothing to purchase besides the seeds. On the other hand there is definitely a cost for the chemicals fertilizers and pesticides. All other things being equal, at the end of each season there will be more earthworms and other microbial life in the organic plot than in the other. Organic is cheaper on family farm scale, it is only more expensive when competing against the giant agri-biz economies of scale which is highly subsidized by our (we are not socialists) government.

    We vote with our dollars when we buy organic. We are voting for a healthier future for all.

    July 16, 2010 at 07:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Farmer

      Growing organic products commercially is more expensive because it requires more work by the farmer. Herbicides & pesticides do cost money, however, the methods for using them are much easier than natural methods, such as pulling the weeds or plowing the fields.... you can plow a 40 acre plot in 1.5 hours, or, you can spray chemicals on that plot in 1/4th the time. Believe me, farmers are not going to go back to "organic" methods; they are going to go more for efficiency, time, and ease of work.

      July 16, 2010 at 08:09 | Report abuse |
    • Goody

      I find what "Farmer" said quite odd, considering my experience working with farmers as an heirloom seed rep. I've heard over and over that if the government would start subsidizing organic vegetables instead of corn, THAT Is what farmers would grow. "Farmer" also doesn't seem to realize that family farms are no longer producing the majority of food in this country – corporate agribusiness is. Again, because our corporate-bought government is handing billions in subsidies to ConAgra to produce corn surpluses – used mostly to produce high-fructose corn syrup and other additives for processed foods. You want small family farmers to grow your food? Tell your government to stop subsidizing American obesity and give those billions to our family farmers – and allow a new generation to get into profitable family farming as well. Stop turning over our agriculture system to corporations that DON'T CARE ABOUT US!!!!!!

      July 16, 2010 at 08:26 | Report abuse |
  13. Sean

    The only thing mentioned in this article is the heavy use of pesticides on fruits and vegetables. There is another alarming problem in the agriculture business. The heavy use of fertilizers. Phosphorus and nitrogen are heavily used in many crops and this does as much damage as the pesticides dumped on our food. Look at what it does to our waterways. There is a dead zone at the mouth of the Mississippi river that spans, on average, about 6000 square miles. The oxygen has been completed sucked out of the water, replaced with alarming amounts of the above mentioned elements. Also, the problem doesn't stop with the food that is currently produced, but future food grown in contaminated soil. Farming practices need to dramatically change if we are going to have any long term future on this planet. We need to stop contaminating our soils and waterways. Pretty soon oil won't be what wars are fought over, instead it will be where we can attain clean soil and water.

    July 16, 2010 at 07:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sean

    Not to mention that the chemical inputs used in the farming business hold a much larger share of the GDP than the farmers that produce our food. ?????

    July 16, 2010 at 08:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jon

    I'm surprised CNN published this unbalanced poorly researched "article". As written, Its merely advertising for pesticides. I have been buying organic for 2 years. The produce tastes better. I believe illness/health, depression/happiness, and obesity/fitness rates are linked to chemical ingestion/diet. For me its very simple: to attain more health, happiness and fitness, eat a diet without chemicals, cook from scratch at home, eat live fruits and vegetables; or to have more illness, depression and obesity, cook less, ingest chemicals, fast foods and processed foods.

    July 16, 2010 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sammie

      You should read the original article. this article just shows the other side.

      July 16, 2010 at 09:35 | Report abuse |
  16. MJ

    EWG did a WONDERFUL thing for consumers by giving the "dirty dozen" – it took away a HUGE amount of stress on trying to go ALL organic. Our household, as well as many of my friends, use the dirty dozen as a guideline when we can (when you live in rural areas, you grow as much of your own and exchange it with others) and when the organic options aren't available, we do still buy non-organic, so this crap about it impacting how many veggies/fruits we eat is b.s. People who were already eating fruits & veggies still do so, and just try to be wary and switch to organic when possible. People who were NOT already eating fruits & veggies may not because this just gives another EXCUSE to eat the crap they were already eating.
    As to the "studies" done:
    Any "panel of experts" funded by pesticide companies (whether overtly or via farmers wanting to continue pesticide use) has an interest in making sure the results match the paycheck.
    And long term effects, which are the most likely outcome of continued pesticide ingestion (e.g. cancer) are not possible to have studied in their short-term, scrambled effort to push their chemically-laced agenda.

    July 16, 2010 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Goody

    There is now evidence that small organic agriculture can produce enough food for this country – we don't NEED corporate agribusiness spraying our food with chemicals. What we need is a system that rewards small family farmers for using sustainable methods, humane animal treatment, and growing healthy vegetables instead of tons of corn – mostly used for corn syrup and additives that make processed food deadly. You say your food won't be as cheap then? So give the subsidies to the small organic family farm, and cut off ConAgra. The question is really whether we want our food production in the hands of family farmers who live on and care about their land, and who are active participants in their communities OR megagiant corporations that want nothing out of food production but profit – the ecosystem be damned, animal welfare be damned, and human health be damned.

    Organic is important, but just as or more important is to BUY LOCAL from family farmers you know. Check out the website for Local Harvest – you can find small farmers in your region selling everything from vegetables and fruit to humanely raised meats to goat milk soaps. And these farmers are generally cheaper than buying mass-produced organics at your local store.

    July 16, 2010 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Diane

      I like your post. Small farmers will give you the best product they can and they need the help not big corporations. The family farm should be formost in any government program. Local farmers need the support of the people in their area. Get out there and buy from your local farmers and see how much better their produce taste!

      July 16, 2010 at 09:55 | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      Very good idea!!

      July 16, 2010 at 09:56 | Report abuse |
  18. Angie

    If consumers buy organics, more organics will be stocked... simple as that. If the markets shift, the producers will have to shift with consumer preference.

    Short term, no, pesiticides will probably not hurt you... but our bodies are telling us that enough is enough. Cancer, thyroid issues, autism... there are no concrete studies that coorespond and one chemical to the diseases currently plaguing the US, but did you think maybe its from the sheer volume of chemicals we eat? Look at your ingredients lists. If you can't pronounce half of them, those are chemicals that can't possibly be doing your body good. If a rat in a lab didn't die from one chemical, thats one thing... but how about when every meal, every day, is riddled with pesiticides and chemicals. Those ingredients merge in your body, and its going to be very difficult to produce hard scientific proof of how your body responds.

    Save money by not eating at McDonalds every day, and spend that money on natural, organic, whole foods. More and more grocery stores are stocking them, and the more we buy, the more they will produce. Your bodies are begging for it, and you are WORTH it.

    July 16, 2010 at 08:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Harry(NJ)

      I am confused here, are you saying that Cancer and other illnesses will now be eliminated if everyone ate organic? Certain Cancers are more genetic based than diet or lifestyle based. So even with this, you would still have folks die of cancer. This is also coming from the same generation of people who have had the longer life expectency in recorded human history. The average adult can expect to see 78.9 years with more and more people seeing over 100 years.

      Just have people eat their Veggies and fruits and try to live healthy organic or not. Whatever they can afford.

      July 16, 2010 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
  19. John777

    My Mom's husband has a pest control business and his son has autism. Coincidence? Maybe, but would you take a chance with your children? There are studies that say autism may be caused by pesticides. There are also studies indicating that toxins (e.g. pesticides) cause defects in men’s sperm and cause infertility in men.

    July 16, 2010 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Linda

      Autism is caused by the immunizations given to children. Check out that now they get a total of 48 injected into their bloodstream by the time they are five years old. I have a grandson that has a mental deficiency caused by childhood immunizations and my great-grandchildren are not being immunized. IF you will check out the increase in autism and see how it fits with increased immunizations required you will notice the pattern yourself. I spray chemicals on pastures for a living to kill weeds. I am licensed, and thus I do what the label says. It's the everyday person putting chemicals on their front yards that are poisoning our water. They have chemicals in these "total lawn care" weed and feed bags, that I will not touch, nor use. One of these chemicals has been found all over the nation in the water wells. Mostly drugs are found in the "city water" so when you drink water from a filtration plant, you are taking in drugs, along with bacteria, chemicals and bleach. When you were children most fruits were sprayed with Sevin Dust, and we were encouraged then to wash the fruit before we ate. I would be more concerned over the so called FDA approved drugs than anything else.

      July 16, 2010 at 09:36 | Report abuse |
  20. fran drake

    Why don't we just grow organic foods and it won't be an issue...I'm from a town that eats almost all organic....I'm not interested in empowering chemical companies to continue to pollute the land, air, and water

    July 16, 2010 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Kevin

    We all die some day, and if eating a little pesticide shortens that by even an hour so what? The air is filthy, the water and food have "acceptable levels" of god knows what in them. I have more important things to do than obsess over what's on my apple.

    July 16, 2010 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Randall

    The Dirty Dozen list isn't about produce to avoid, it's about produce that you should buy organic. With the higher costs of organic produce, the dirty dozen list shows the dozen or so produce items that you should always buy organic. It also details the items that have the least pesticide contamination, and conventional versions are probably safe. This usually involves fruits and vegetables with thick, inedible rinds that protect the edible parts from the pesticides used.
    Just because there is no current scientific link between pesticides and health, doesnt mean its safe to eat pesticide laden foods. How many years ago was it that there was no scientific link between smoking and lung cancer.

    July 16, 2010 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Mike

    Listen, I buy organic often but not always. Why? Cost is one factor and the other is that I don't trust organic produce much more than I trust non-organic. I'm buy organic because of the "maybe it is better" factor.
    I also have a garden. For those who don't you should try it to realize how difficult it is to grow some fruits and vegetables without pesticides and insecticides. My apple trees would produce ZERO edible apples without being sprayed for bugs. The first year they produced (and there were some 40-50 apples per tree) every single apple was tossed for having worms.
    Broccoli? Impossible. I don't grow it anymore because of the worms that they have. And you cannot pick them off because there were hundreds.
    I have certain veggies that grow well without chemicals and I stick with those but they are not many.

    ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, wash fruit and veggies no matter organic or not. Only a fool eats food that they are unsure whether it is clean or not.

    As for organic? There is that "maybe it is better" factor. Pesticides, insecticides, herbicides may not cause any harm at all but I still do not want them in my body if I can avoid it. There is nobody that will convince me that they cause ZERO harm because they simply do not know with 100% certainty how these things affect certain people, like those with weaker immune systems, etc.

    Do what you feel is right and be happy.

    July 16, 2010 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Diane

      I find that using 1/2 dish washing liquid to 1/2 water in a sprayer deters many insects. You might want to try that and see if it helps your problems. I use on my veggies and my flowers and it works well for me. Actually, it is the only thing that seemd to be effective on japanese beetles.

      July 16, 2010 at 09:49 | Report abuse |
  24. john

    The truth about food is not as simple as you want to believe. I am a farmer and have been around the business my entire life. By 2025 the worlds food production has to double from its present levels; this won't happen through organic farming. Organic foods will become more and more expensive as food becomes less available to everyone. As it stands right now, the only reason Americans enjoy the availability of food and low price of food is becuase of government subsidies. Like health care, food is something that people cannot live without. If the government allowed it, farmers would be able to increase the price of food. Organic foods are eventually going to lead to an overall food price increase, because they are a luxury and they are using up valuable soil that could be used to grow less expensive non-organic foods. Furthermore, although I do believe that organic foods are better tasting and better for our bodies, the process of growing organic grains is not better for the environment. To grow organic grains, it requires a substantial increase in tillage, which leads to more soil erosion and burning of fossil fuels. I like organic foods, but it will eventually lead to some problems.

    July 16, 2010 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Ambariffic

    Organic is a marketing ploy, and anyone who actually knows nutrition understands that HFCS is nutritionally the SAME as sugar. But you people will never believe it. Have fun paying ridiculous prices for your produce! Also, when they package 'Organic' food in plastic, or have to truck it from far away, it negates it being organic, don't you think?? It's better economically and ecologically to just eat local, regardless if it's conventional or organic.

    July 16, 2010 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Diane

      I agree with you, but many people do not have the option of buying locally. Trucking produce probably is not the best way to get produce but, for many it is the only way.

      July 16, 2010 at 09:44 | Report abuse |
    • Darth Vader

      Corn industry shill alert.

      July 16, 2010 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      "Organic a marketing ploy"? Marketing ploy for who? A marketing ploy is these big companies lying to Americans by saying you need milk and milk is good for you. Buying organic doesn't benefit the big companies or the govt, but buying non-organic does; therefore they will tell you "Oh dont worry pesticides are fine"

      July 16, 2010 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
    • SolaLola

      @Ambariffic, I agree, eating local when possible is wise in many ways....and those of us who choose to buy organic when possible feel there is wisdom in that as well.

      Bringing up HFCS? Sounds like those propaganda commercials I see once in a while where someone is against HFCS, and can't explain why. Then their relative smugly declares "it's fine in moderation"....so the logic is "eat up!"

      Except HFCS seems to be be the most common sweetener in commercially processed foods. For example, juices, ketchup, and soda, cereals....unless you actively seek to avoid them. While we should all limit our sugar intake, HFCS has risk factors for diabetes and heart disease factors.

      According to the SF Gate:
      "The body processes the fructose in high fructose corn syrup differently than it does old-fashioned cane or beet sugar, which in turn alters the way metabolic-regulating hormones function. It also forces the liver to kick more fat out into the bloodstream.”

      July 16, 2010 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
  26. Venu

    I think the whole point of "Dirty Dozen" list is to make sure we buy those "organic".
    As simple as that.

    July 16, 2010 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Ishtar

    I use the list to get the healthier options. Both the 12 and the 15 list are in my shopping lists on my Pre. Lettuce comercially grown is one major no no. The smell and the taste of the chemicals is overpowering. Until I switched to organic I stopped eating lettuce of any kind. No more stomach aches or cramps after eating a salad. Never ordered salad in a restaurant again either unless it was a health food restaurant

    July 16, 2010 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. OldSchool

    Here you F%#&$** jerks go again. Its no damned wonder America so f^#$*$% up in our minds. Im trying to eat healthy, and then BAM, you SOBs publish this crap. I am so sick of American BS that I am literally considering leaving this country. I have never been so ashamed and felt unpatriotic as what I have over the last ten years of my life. Im middle aged, have tried to live a good God fearing life, abide to the laws in this country and still I have been nothing but disappointed and let down. You SOBs make me sick, and now it looks like your making me sick literally. To Hell with all of you.....

    July 16, 2010 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Linda

      Bye!

      July 16, 2010 at 09:39 | Report abuse |
    • Sammie

      Wow – you get this upset over an internet article? Maybe you should stop reading the news if it upsets you so much. Therapy might be a good idea as well.

      July 16, 2010 at 09:39 | Report abuse |
  29. Diane

    I think farmers in this country do use too many pesticides and I shudder to think what foreign growers use. That being said, I love my fruits and veggies. My family grows some of our own and I get others at the local farmers market. I know some of the growers that sell at the market so I am familiar with their growing habits. My advice to people is if you have a local farmers market buy your fruits and veggies there, if you can't then be sure to wash all your produce well. Buying organic is another alternative. If organic produce gains enough market then chemical farmers will have to change the way they grow.

    July 16, 2010 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Mike

    WOW Old School – hope your life gets better.....feel bad for ya buddy.....
    All this report shows is that no one really knows what is right or appropriate healthwise, that for one opinion there is always an opposite one, that "health" is still an infant science despite all the proclaimed experts, and that there are a lot of folks out there with an agenda and questionable credibility. I'm still waiting for someone to come out and say that the fat on beef is the best thing in the world for you health-wise.......

    July 16, 2010 at 09:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Dave

    In regards to Phonylies response to Scott ; Scott does make a valid observation about the amount of pesticide which would have to be ingested to cause realistic health issues. If critical thinking is indeed the goal in evaluating this debate, I'd like to suggest people google the term " LD 50 ". LD 50 by definition is the measurement used to determine the amount of a chemical's (including fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides) Lethal Dose (hence the LD) to kill half of a test population (the majority of these "test populations" being mice). To put this in perspective and to maybe rest some fears, the LD 50 of caffine and asprin are much lower (the HIGHER the LD 50, the SAFER a chemistry is) than the newer pesticides being currently applied . The new parameters set in place by the EPA as of roughly 10 years ago, require any new pesticides being rewarded a federal & state registration number (needed for legal applications to a desired area), must have a very high LD 50 relative to birds, fish, amphibians, and mammals. If they do not meet safety requirements in all 4 of these categories, the manufacturers know it will never reach registration approval. The new pesticides have a very short half-life, and are then broken down by soil microbes rather quickly into simple carbon as the end product. The older chemistries are all one by one permanately heading into the sunset, because once their registration timeframe has expired, they are not being given re-registrations by the EPA. I chuckle sometimes, because what most homes have under their kitchen and bathroom sinks is much more of a readily available toxic exposure situation, not to mention the homes which have a highly explosive product in natural gas (albeit contained) heating their homes, water, and the flames on their stove tops. All these things in the home used properly and at the correct rates (check any bottle of detergent, HOME pesticides, etc and there will be, by law, the proper rate to be used) are of benefit. Used inproperly problems ensue. The same can be said for the farmers using various plant protectants on the crops they produce. Put another way, " Everything in moderation ". That motto has worked well for me my entire life.

    July 16, 2010 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Alex

    Someone should let EWG President Ken Cook know that if the AFF followed his advice and focused on growing chemical free produce, then the farmers he represents wouldn't be able to charge 2-3x as much for their produce anymore.

    Seems to be the pot calling the kettle black. "It makes me sad that the AFF is only interested in your money. Here, pay twice as much for my organic produce... um, because I care about your health?"

    July 16, 2010 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Anthony

    Eventually the government is gonna conduct a study and say pesticides are actually good for you. Doctors will then tell you to stop eating so much organic stuff because you are becoming "pesticide deficient". The government already pushes cow's milk and everyone should know that is poison.

    July 16, 2010 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. WillBill

    Eat plenty of chemicals daily.You must use the healthy food group chart.(fruits and veggies-good- plenty of chemos there)
    (meat-good plenty of sterolds,growth hormones and antibiotics there)(Dairy Products-good source of antibiotics and lots of other goodies) WOW what a healthy mass of humanity we are.

    July 16, 2010 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Tina

    Sure, I'll eat more of their fruits and veggies when they stop putting poison on them.

    July 16, 2010 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Rick McDaniel

    It would be nice to have food free of chemicals and pesticides, but realistically, most people would use them on food they grow themselves, if they had to grow their own food.

    So, escaping them, is not something that is very realistic to accomplish.

    July 16, 2010 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. cts10308

    @geoffj4 I don't eat bleach or gasoline. As for the bleach you will find no chlorine bleach in this household. We use a better alternative. Folks like you can keep believing experts all you like. I WILL NOT KNOWING EAT POISONS IN ANY AMOUNT. You may feel free to eat all you like. 🙂

    We would like a free choice is all. I choose no pesticides TYVM.

    July 16, 2010 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Geoffj4

      Sorry I wasn't trying to imply that you ingest those things – it's only meant to show that we do live in a world where we have to best manage our risks vs benefits. We expose ourselves to more toxic things throughout our normal day than what's delivered on our fresh food. All U.S. fresh produce growers want to grow the best piece of produce possible. I just get so sick of conventional farmers being vilified and portrayed as "Corporate Ag". I live in California and grew up around farming and know that both conventional and organic growers are just trying to do their best to produce good food for the planet. They live on the land they farm and feed what they grow to their own families. They are always learning and adapting and doing everything they can to make sure they are growing food responsibly.

      Check out this series we have been working on called PPNTV. It's a look at California peach, plum and nectarine growers talking about what they experience as growers. http://www.youtube.com/ppntv.

      July 16, 2010 at 13:46 | Report abuse |
  38. TW

    what a poorly written article. do journalists and their editors have no standards these days?

    July 16, 2010 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. biomedMOM

    Eat organic. Pesticides are rotting our digestive systems, causing auto-immune disorders and harming our children. Genetically Modified foods have pesiticides and a preservative called mercury fused into the seed so the food is grown with the pesticide and mercury right in there. This is why there are traces of mercury found in high fructose corn syrup. Our standard American diet is our biggest health risk. If we all ate organic, non-processed foods we would all be better off for it.

    July 16, 2010 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. DK

    The AFF has too much financial interest in this matter to be taken as an objective and credible source of information.

    July 16, 2010 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Charles

    I'm not reading where the EWG actually said that eating these fruits leads to health problems. Didn't they simply state that you would be consuming pesticides if you ate these fruits?

    July 16, 2010 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. tdatrufe

    I agree with those on here who feel that chemicals on what you eat is bad for you lol lets be real for just a minute shall we, these are chemicals they spray on food you ingest, I dont require a science degree to understand that, and Im pretty sure that this sort of logic im applying isnt rooted in fear or emotions but rather what seems like common sense. Believe me, this is a contrived article, just like the rest of the propaganda they peddle for news on these networks. Obviously during a DEPRESSION, a union of farmers are definitely going to refute bad press about what they grow, plain and simple. Not only do our fruits have chemicals on and in them, but I read an article right here on cnn a couple years back that states that there were trace amount of rocket fuel in the drinking water of more than 16 states lol not to mention the hormones and the way animals are raised and slaughtered. It is glaringly obvious, that if you are rich on this planet, you get the best, and when you arent, you get population control. http://www.reverbnation.com/tdatrufe

    July 16, 2010 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Melpa

    What i see many people overlooking here is not only the chemical aspect of Organic, but the nutritional value as well. I recently read an article that said we would need to eat 10 peaches to get the vitamins and nutrients that were in one peach in the 1950's. By planting crops on overused, unnourished land over and over, we are taking out so much nutrients from our frutis and veggies. Mass produce food is picked before it is fully rip, again giving it less of the good stuff. There are ways they grow the food faster and better and this may make a good looking peach, but it doesn't have the "goods" in it to it's full potential. So I buy all organic frutis, veggies, meat and dairy from local farmer's markets whenever I can. I order a half a cow from a local farm at the beginning of each grilling season. I grow what veggies I can and eat and share and trade them with co workers. Overall, I have lost weight since switching to organic, I have slept better, I have gotten less colds, I feel wonderful, and I recently had a tough battle with Lyme and I believe the all raw veggie and fruit juicing severely helped me get over that. There is just nothing appealing about unrip, chemical laced, nutrient deficient frutis and veggies, which do nothign to support my local economy or protect our environment and land. I have bought a community share in the local farm for 2 years now and I love getting my weekly box full of veggies and fruits, some of which I have never heard of or used). My family finds it fun to figure out what to make from it and it keeps us eating right. Of course I realize how blessed I am to make enough money to support eating this way. If our family did not have the funds availabel, we would probably be eating processed mac and cheese and a lot of fast food. Organic is not cheap, but for me it is the only choice for myself and my family.

    July 16, 2010 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. jenngg

    The "science" that is reported in this article is provided by the Alliance for Food and Farming, a pro- conventional farming group (read: lobbyists). They are only interested in making sure your grocery dollars end up in their pockets: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_21230.cfm

    Yes, organics are more expensive, but they are a short term investment in long term health and wellness. If you have the resources, or even if you have to stretch to do it, spend the money. You and your family are worth it. I feel really sad for the folks who tell themselves pesticide laden and processed foods are ok because the government hasn't formally told them otherwise. Use your instincts. And look around you, who do you think the gov't and these agencies (i.e. USDA, FDA, EPA etc.) are looking out for? Especially when these agencies are all largely staffed by former industry people. Its a total case of the fox guarding the henhouse.

    Now is not the time to stick our heads back in the sand, America. If you can't afford to eat organically, all the more reason to join the fight. In the end everyone will benefit the same and everyone deserves healthy nutritious food.

    In this age of instant communication, social networking, and YouTube there are many ways to be educated and contribute (not necessarily in a monetary sense either) to the fight to clean up our food production. Buy organic produce on sale and in season. Shop at Farmers Markets, (some even accept food stamps), ask farmers if they spray their produce- if they do, move on. Send a message to the people who produce our food: poisoning our families and the land its grown in/on is unacceptable.

    Inaction is just irresponsible.

    July 16, 2010 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Harry(NJ)

      Is that Organic Natural Dish Detergent or something filled with Chemicals like Dawn or Palmolive?

      July 16, 2010 at 11:49 | Report abuse |
    • Geoffj4

      The Alliance has both organic and conventional growers in their membership and DOES NOT lobby. They are based out of Watsonville and more connected to actual growers compared to the WASHINGTON DC based E.W.G. Really their M.O. is the same as the E.W.G. Eat more fruits and veggies of all kinds. They don't want people to be scared out of enjoying responsibly grown fresh produce.

      July 16, 2010 at 13:33 | Report abuse |
    • jenngg

      Geoffj4, can you clarify what is responsible about pesticide use?

      July 16, 2010 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
    • Geoffj4

      How do you feed a Nation / World?

      July 16, 2010 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
  45. OtterMama

    If buying organic isn't an option, there are ways to stripping off the waxes and pesticides from your produce to reduce your intake. A vinegar and/or hydrogen peroxide wash works great for the pesticides, and a non-toxic, mild dish soap will remove the waxes. You'd be amazed at how different a thoroughly cleaned apple feels than one that has only been rinsed. And I'll be honest... I have bought conventionally grown strawberries while pregnant, washed them like the average joe (under running water, that's it), and with heightened senses, they still had a chemical taste. If I washed them thoroughly in a vinegar solution, then rinse, that chemical taste is gone. So there are other options!

    July 16, 2010 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Carol Sowell

    If the fruit or vegetable is washed thoroughly with a dish soap such as Ivory or whatever anyone uses for washing dishes, or peeled with a knife or peeler, is the pesticide risk reduced or eliminated? I eat a green pepper almost everyday and that is not something easy to peel. I also snack on carrots which I peel. I buy organic celery since it can't be peeled. As much as I like to eat an apple with the peel, I've been peeling them for years because of pesticides. Anyone have an answer if the risk is "reduced" or "eliminated" by washing and or peeling?

    July 16, 2010 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ishtar

      Sorry, but food should not have to be washed with soap. Regardless how long you rinse the soap taste will be there unscented or scented. They do say peel the apples besides the chemicals the wax they treat the apples, and peppers for that matter is almost impossible to remove. Go organic, and enjoy the better taste

      July 16, 2010 at 14:17 | Report abuse |
  47. Jean B

    CNN is reduced to reprinting agrochemical industry press releases? Really? CNN producers, I understand you're under a lot of pressure...but please. Hold onto a few journalistic standards, will you?

    July 16, 2010 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Carol Sowell

    One of the items on the Dirty Dozen list surprised me. Blueberries are almost totally maintenance free. I had many blueberry bushes at my other home and never once sprayed them. A little 10-10-10 fertilizer and the natural rain and sunshine and I picked absolutely gallons of berries from just a few bushes. I gave away far more than I picked. The deer would jump the six ft. fence and stand on their hind legs, reach up and pull the branches down to eat the berries. I didn't mind a bit sharing the berries with them. My point is, even without all the chemicals, many foods can be produced in abundance. You just have to plant enough to share. The culture shock came when I had to start buying the blueberries in a store!

    July 16, 2010 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Penny

    I buy organic because I can, and I do believe there are harmful effects to eating so many chemical pesticides. HOWEVER, that's not why I'm commenting. What I find unbelievable is that this article is suggesting that people are avoiding eating fruits and vegetables because they fear consuming pesticides. And if that fear were reduced by assurances that conventional produce is fine to eat, they will eat more. PLEASE! Fear of pesticides is NOT the reason so few Americans eat their fruits and veggies. People don't go into the store, see only conventional produce, say, oh darn, and reluctantly head to the packaged food aisles. They go there first! Americans are addicted to processed crap. We eat out of packages and cartons instead of out of the (conventional or organic) garden. This is the problem to focus on.

    July 16, 2010 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Farmer Jeff

    I'm a tomato farmer. I'm the 3rd generation in my family in the tomato business. I USED to be the largest Organinc tomato farmer in the US. Now, I grow everything conventional. Organic farming will never feed the world.A rule of thumb is that organic fields will yield 1/3 to 1/2 less than conventional. The yields are too low. Organic famring uses chemicals...they are sometimes very toxic (Nicotine and Rotenone are two examples) but they are naturally derived. Organic farming uses TONS of fetilizer. Naturally occurring fertilizers have low amounts of available nutrients thus more is needed. Organic fertilizers can have large amounts of toxins...Chilean Nitrate contains 26% Sodium. Manures used in organic production can have pathogens that make you sick.

    I test all of my fields for pesticide residues. There are none. I subject my fields to the strictest food safety certification available. I rarely have any problems. Does the smalll farmer at the farmers' market test his produce for pesticide residues? Does he have a USDA inspector check his fileds for food safety?

    I help provide you with the cheapest food in the world. I work very hard to make sure that my food is healty and tasty for you to eat. Visit a farm and learn the truth!

    July 16, 2010 at 20:28 | Report abuse | Reply
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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.