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 (214 Responses)
  1. RobK

    But do you get more bacterial contamination, like e coli and samonella with organics?

    June 13, 2011 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rand5

      every study shows organics have no higher incidence of those pathogens. You are repeating a scare tactic used by the pesticide and fertilizer companies.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • mpouxesas

      most of what is toxic to some degree and poisonous to another, but why is this news? People nowadays living longer...surprised? of course not, and the reason is...our foods are full of...preservatives, no wonder we live longer!!! They are helping us preserver better 'corpses' so to look better when...dead!

      June 13, 2011 at 13:23 | Report abuse |
    • mpouxesas

      correction: most of what WE EAT is toxic...

      June 13, 2011 at 13:23 | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      Chemicals and pesticides do not do anything in regards to safer eating when it comes to bacteria or e. coli, safety for those comes to the companies cleanliness, and your own washing of produce (and your hands), and cooking habits. As to unregulated produce irregardless if it is conventional or organic, many of you would be shocked at how unregulated all of it is...if you want complete control- grow your own....even if you live in a big city and have a sunny window to some extent this can be done- look up info on the internet to find out how, and get creative! If all that is not a possibility, as a plant scientist, and years of studying this very subject, I can tell you the less 'stuff' that is applied to your food the better. All organics and conventional foods in the stores should have a sign stating where it came from (Mexico, USA, etc.), and if it is organic (as in USDA ceritified, oregon tilth, etc.), or conventional (meaning it could have been sprayed with chemicals or certain fertilizers could have been used). If your store doesn't have a sign stating those things, my suggestion is to find a store that does....
      Food is also getting more expensive, but not as expensive as you will have to pay in health care when you do not eat a healthy diet!

      June 13, 2011 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      First, if manure, as you are hinting at, is used, it is composted, otherwise it would destroy the plant when it decomposed in the soil.
      Second, contamination of E. coli and salmonella are on the SURFACE of vegetables and fruit, not inside of them. Washing them removes the microorganism.
      If you are REALLY frightened, do what the military does, chlorinated bath for the food, then rinse with clean water.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Buy Organic and you bypass the pesticides. I have a apple tree that provides me with plenty of nice apples, no pesticides. Wake up America, use your land for growing organic foods instead of growing ornamental gardens that are good for nothing but show. My friend goes around asking people with vacant lots of land if she can start a community garden. You and your neighbors can work and get to know each other for a common cause; Your kids better health.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
    • Al

      bacteria comes from humans who handle the fruit and those who fail to properly wash it get sick

      June 13, 2011 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
    • TruthHurts

      Not sure..but to avoid this problem, i stick with an Android a day.

      June 13, 2011 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
    • JLS639

      To Rand: He is not repeating the scare tactic. He is asking a question. I already knew the answer, but it seems reasonable: perhaps some of these chemicals reduce bacterial load. In truth, the variation in bacterial load within several organic samples or within several non-organic samples is far larger than the variation between organic and non-organic. The easiest thing to do is wash all produce. A friend of mine used to work for the USDA. She says around their department they would say "if everyone properly cooked and handled their food, we would have no job."

      June 13, 2011 at 17:20 | Report abuse |
  2. JJ

    Robk: it is a myth that organics have more pathogens like salmonella or e coli. Testing shows they do not.

    June 13, 2011 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Andrea

    hey did sell organic on the clinic???

    June 13, 2011 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Marilyn Dolan

    Once again the Environmental Working Group has released its "dirty dozen" list which a panel of scientists and the EWG itself says is not risk based. To see for yourself just how small any pesticide residues that may be present on food really are, check out the new pesticide residue calculator at http://www.safefruitsandveggies.com.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • steven harnack

      And why would you believe information given to you by pesticide and fertilizer manufacturers? "Please eat our poison because it won't harm you, only your children and your children's children" Brought to you, with no ulterior motive, by Poison Makers Assoc.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • Rand5

      Ms. Dolan is a PR flack for a group funded by pesticide dependent farmers. The site she is recommending is spin and bias by parties interested in pesticides. For her to post here and not state she is a paid flak promoting pesticides, and not state that the site she is recommending is her own groups pro-pesticide site, is not ethical.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      There are a plethora of studies showing that many pesticides, especially organophosphate acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, are absorbed into fruits and vegetables. There are even links being explored with pesticide exposure and autism.
      So, if it's all the same to you, I'd rather not follow my ingestion of fruits and vegetables with a shot of atropine, 2=PAM Cl and CANA.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:55 | Report abuse |
    • JLS639

      The reason they are not risk based is because it is impossible to calculate the risk given our current state of knowledge. In other words, we either do not know if these chemicals pose a health hazard or we do not know how large the hazard is. This list was aimed at people who are trying to avoid pesticide and other chemical residues. However, I agree with industry groups that lists like these are likely to make some people think they should avoid them. I am not worried about them, myself.

      June 13, 2011 at 17:25 | Report abuse |
  5. Dan

    "Organic produce is grown using materials of plant or animal origin, instead of chemicals."

    This quote is an out and out falsehood in this article.

    Dont believe me? Check for yourself on the FDA site. Organic means DIFFERENT pesticides, not "plant based". Like Copper sulfate which contaminates teh soil for a hundred years and slowly builds up in each crop until the soil is considered hazardous.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wilie

      Agreed. Don't forget most states(if not all) only require produce to be only 80% organic to be labelled as organic. "Organic produce" is an oxymoron if ever there was.

      June 13, 2011 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
    • Rand5

      wille and dan are wrong. Copper sulfate is not sued in organic farming in the US. and the 80% does not apply to produce but to some state laws on processed organic foods,

      June 13, 2011 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • Len

      Actually, Rand5, you are wrong . There are states that require even less. Organic does more harm than good. .

      June 13, 2011 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • Rand5

      Len YOU are wrong. The law on produce organic labeling is FEDERAL. so stop posting laughably incorrect info.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:26 | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Copper sulfate, ROFLMAO!
      First, copper sulfate is used in NON-organic food. Second, it's of very, very narrow application. That said, it IS used as a fertilizer, some chlorophyll thing needs it.
      When used on plants themselves, it is used as an anti-fungal. Hence, it's infrequently used.
      And it washes off.
      Plants won't absorb more copper than they can utilize and they DO require it or they'll be either sickly or dead.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:59 | Report abuse |
  6. CJ O'Donnell

    Decades of nutrition research shows only the health benefits of increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, all done with conventionally grown produce.

    June 13, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rand5

      And decades of research show that the chemicals and pesticides used on conventional produce cause cancer. We also know that the amount of persistent pesticides on produce is several times that of twenty years ago.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
  7. Tom

    "Though buying organic is always the best choice" is baloney. The organics frequently are bug eaten, smaller and uglier, besides being more expensive – I think the risk from the dirty dozen is quite small.

    June 13, 2011 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tatiana

      The fact that they have some marks from bugs is actually good – that means there were not treated with chemicals. The reason they are smaller b/c various fertilizers were not used.

      June 13, 2011 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
    • WM

      "bug eaten, smaller and uglier, besides being more expensive"

      Serously? I've eaten organic for years. I've never found a single piece of produce that was "bug eaten". As to "smaller and uglier, read "Tomatoland". Find out just what kind of wonderful things go in to creating that "beautiful, large, perfectly round" tomato. Visually perfect foods are just as inane as visually perfect people. They don't really exist, and if you see one, you don't want to know what went in to making it that way. You're much better off eating two smaller pieces of produce that may not be bred and grown for image, but grown for taste and texture instead. And yes, it does cost more for organic – because our government doesn't subsidize organics nearly to the level it does with industrial/chemical agriculture. But hey – if you love the taste of fungicides and pesticides engineered by chemical giants, enjoy the flavor.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:00 | Report abuse |
    • victim of democrat hypocrisy

      Don't forget the organic produce doesn't taste as good, either.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
    • Len

      Organic is mostly a scam and most of the methods used to make the produce grow actually hurt the farmers and land. You rarely ever see organic fruit that doesn't look like garbage. Organic is mostly for the people who have money to waste. There are quite a few farmers out there who use only the needed pesticides and don't 'genetically alter' their produce. If you are that paranoid about your fruit and vegetables, do what I do – shop at a farmer's market.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
    • LL

      @LEN – I am not sure where you are buying your organic fruit and vegtables but mine looks good. You may want to shop at a different store.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • Rand5

      @ "Len" Farmers markets can contain super high levels of pesticides. Organic labeling on produce is a federal control. Farmers market makes no difference when it comes to pesticides

      June 13, 2011 at 13:28 | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Yet another lie. We have plenty of organic fruits and vegetables at every supermarket in the area.
      No bug eaten, small, ugly produce at all.

      June 13, 2011 at 14:01 | Report abuse |
  8. fit4ever

    someone has to really regulate our produce, all of it...it is rediculous that there is no reliable info regarding produce and diet, in general! I hate these misleading and contradictory articles that confuse more than clarify and do 180 on you w/o any apology,

    June 13, 2011 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Howie

    More of the organic conspiracy on display. The organic compounds used to prevent pests from consuming 'organic' apples are MUCH more toxic than the chemical versions in use today. For one thing, chemical pesticides disperse rapidly. You can spray the orchard, and go and work in the rows almost immediately with conventional pesticides. When you use organics, you cannot re-enter the rows for 12 to 24 hours depending on the weather. Whatever residues are left by conventional pesticides are easily removed by a wipe of a cloth, or the front of your shirt. Organic pesticides can only be removed by thorough scrubbing with soap and water. The most toxic substances known to man are all 'organic' – natural venoms produced by animals and insects, and plant – produced toxins.
    Calling something organic does not imply that it is somehow safer and better for human consumption, it just means certain hoops have been jumped through to allow the use of that label, The truth is, organic produce is lower quality, does not taste or look as good, has lower nutritional content, and has more toxic residues than conventionally grown produce.

    June 13, 2011 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LL

      Organic tastes better AND is better for you. You must work for Monsanto?

      June 13, 2011 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
    • Rand5

      the claim that pesticides "disperse rapidly" and have short "half life" is an old DEBUNKED claim . Yes the effectiveness agaisnt bugs falls quickly, but the carcinogenic and teratogenic (birth defect inducing) qualities do NOT reduce by the time the produce gets to market.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
    • Ther Real Tom Paine

      And the studies supporting your statements were performed by whom and funded by whom? Its great that you can slam the so-called "organic conspiracy", but without any real supporting evidence that you can cite, you are just part of the great " chemical conspiracy". Show us your proof, or don't bother to comment.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:26 | Report abuse |
    • greenthumb

      Actually you are mistaking Organic Chemistry with Organic Farming. This is another scare tactic used by chemical companies against Organic Farming. Copper is NOT used in Organic Farming, keep drinking the kool-aid. I have also eaten both Conventional and Organic and Organic is by far better tasting.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      Howie, if that is true, then how can there be any residue for them to test for anyway? If pesticides "disapear" like you say then there should never be any on our produce right?? Your argument doesn't make sense.

      June 13, 2011 at 16:22 | Report abuse |
  10. wilie

    Corn? Are you serious? GMO trash grown in a sea of "roundup" is not what I call clean!

    June 13, 2011 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. NSP

    Wash your fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Not that hard, folks. Most organic food is no better than the non-organic. Unless you grow it yourself, assume that it's been through the wringer and take proper precautions before consumption.

    June 13, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LL

      Many pesticides will not wash off. They are IN the fruit/vegetables.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • me

      washing your produce doesn't always work. When chemicals are part of the flesh of the food, there's no washing that'll get rid of that. Also, GMO demons like Monsanto have genetically screwed up our food supply for years, so no amount of washing will fix what's inherently wrong with the produce itself.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
    • blah9999

      mmm. i love GMOs. They make my food better

      June 13, 2011 at 13:39 | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      @me 90% of the "dirty dozen" are GM at all. There's little economic incentive to modify such small acreage crops. It costs millions of dollars to produce a transgenic line and I doubt that could be recouped.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
  12. Jamie

    BUY LOCAL! Know your grower. Problem solved.

    June 13, 2011 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Len

      Agreed! All of my veggies/fruit come from a farmer's market or a small little family store.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • Be realistic

      Gee, that's a great idea, but what should I do at the airport when I'm traveling? Or when I'm at an amusement park? Or the mall? Or basically anywhere but home? Get to a farmer's market early enough in the morning and take a look at the dumpsters, they're merely buying in bulk and repacking on-site so suckers like you think you're getting a wholesome, "aw shucks" experience. I have pictures from 4 different markets in PA and MD to prove it.

      June 13, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse |
  13. nosnobunny

    Where I live, organic is unregulated so how do you REALLY know what you're getting? I say, you don't.

    June 13, 2011 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • WM

      Do you have any less idea with organics in your area than you do with conventional foods? Really?

      June 13, 2011 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
    • Len

      He's right. Most states do not regulate organic, and quite a few tell you DON'T buy it.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:14 | Report abuse |
    • Rand5

      more BS from "Len". Organic labeling on Produce is federal, not state.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
  14. WellnessDrive

    Hence we all need good antioxidants to help protect us – screen us – from the damage that these free radicals caused by pesticides.

    That's why my family take some of the best antioxidants – Isotonix OPC-3 and ORAC. Go on a WellnessDrive com and see.

    A friend of mine shared this with me years ago. I'm glad I listened.

    June 13, 2011 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. sick n tired

    I am more concerned about the genetically modified crops. More specificlly, the crops that have been modified by such wonderful companies like Monsanto. I don't want to eat anything that can be sprayed with herbacides.....and still thrive. There is a farm down the street from me that grows corn & soybeans. They spray the fields with herbacides to kill everything EXCEPT the genetically modified corn & soybeans. The smell from the chemicals is sickening. Unfortunatly the genetic modifications are the least harmful of Monsanto's prcatices.

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

      Not going to get into the Monsanto debate, since I find their business practices reprehensible. But what's wrong with genetically modified crops? Every single food you eat has been genetically modified, from the livestock that's been domesticated, to the wheat that actually domesticated us (domestic wheat can't actually reproduce without human intervention, which is why it is thought that wheat led to human civilizaton). Why is it better if it takes fifty generations for your crops to be hardier than if it takes only one generation?

      June 13, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse |
    • Veronica Flores

      @Lauren There is a very BIG difference between hybridized and genetically modified. One is done by nature at a "survival of the fittest for that climate" level; the other is created in a laboratory, often as an inedible solution to a problem that shouldn't even exist.

      June 13, 2011 at 19:26 | Report abuse |
  16. JEH

    Well so much for "An apple a day keeps the doctor away".

    June 13, 2011 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Normon

      Not if it's the Doctor that's eating them. 🙁

      June 13, 2011 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
  17. Stevareeno

    Oh God, please tell me we are not about to have more celebs weeping in front of Congress about how scared they are to buy apples becuase of all the "poisons" on them! Organics aren't any safer because of what blows in from the fields next door. Shut up and eat you apple or send it to someone who will!

    June 13, 2011 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rand5

      Except we all know now that Meryl streep was right and long terms studies now have shown that "Aylar" turned out to be a very powerful carcinogenic.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
  18. Normon

    Randy, JJ,
    I'd be interested in the data, could you cite the reports you're talking about?

    June 13, 2011 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rand5

      Yes, google University of Minnesota study on pathogens. Non certified organics and conventional produce had equal amounts of pathogens. Certified organics had slightly LESS than conventional produce.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:32 | Report abuse |
    • Normon

      Thanks. Interesting paper.
      Makes it sound like uncertified Organic is stuff to watch out for, which probably isn't labeled specifically. I wonder if that would be farms transitioning from conventional to Organic.

      June 13, 2011 at 14:05 | Report abuse |
  19. bobwithab

    Of course a # of flat earthers are out, claiming that organophsophate pesticides are good for one's health, while scary organic food (i.e. what we've eaten for almost the entirety of our 200,000 years as a species... or 7000 as they would have it) is dangerous. No surprise we're the most obese country on earth. Alternatively, they coud be paid shills of agribusiness.

    June 13, 2011 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. John

    Fascinating how we worry so much over so-called contamination of fruits and vegetables, but, apparently give little or no thought to the literally pounds and pounds of cancer causing, blood vessel clogging animal flesh products we as a society happily consume every day. Amazing.

    June 13, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. JT

    Why spend more money buying organic food if it tastes the same? I know people who will only buy Dasani water vs. Aquafina water as if there is a difference – they claim one exists and it's enough to make them choose one over the other. That's ridiculous.

    What's even more ridiculous is the fear of genetically modified food. Newsflash – selective breeding is "genetic modification" and we've been practicing it since the dawn of agriculture. Trust me, your ancestors ate much more questionable "food" when times were lean.

    What's even worse is that many of these people will end up with cancer or some other disease and blame it on whatever paranoid delusion they've been obsessing over. Whatever happens, happens. You're more likely to choke on your food than to be poisoned by it.

    June 13, 2011 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • eflows

      1. The issue has zero to do with a difference in taste;
      2. The issue has zero to do with differences in bottled water;
      3. Genetic modification has zero to do with selective breeding.

      Maybe you can RTFA next time before commenting.

      June 13, 2011 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
  22. Afell

    As I always tell folks..buy organic where it makes sense. Milk, for one. It's the best way to make sure you don't get milk from cows treated with BGH and antibiotics to increase milk production. In fact, if a cow in an organic herd has to go on antibiotics, then it's milk cannot be sold as organic.

    As far as produce is concerned...get in touch with your local farmer's markets. Even if the local farmers use pesticides, you can ask them directly which ones they use. 99% of the time, a good rinse under the sink will remove any and all contaminants. If you need to be assured, used a small dab of dish soap to break down any organic compounds that don't wash off with water. Working with local farmers and buying what is in season will also reduce your carbon footprint (since the produce doesn't have to travel far) and put your money back into the local community.

    If you want to go even a step further, start your own vegetable garden. For the investment of about 30 minutes a day (maybe an hour or two on the weekends) you can get fresh, home-grown produce for at least 6-7 months out of the year. You can even grow tomatoes year round inside, and herbs adapt very well to a window box. Nothing like making pasta gravy with fresh basil and oregano to go with the tomatoes, garlic and onions you grew yourself.

    June 13, 2011 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fiona

      I don't know where you live, but in my area the major conventional milk producer markets its milk as free of rBGH (the correct abbreviation). Even WalMart has banned rBGHT in its milk. The "best way to make sure you don't get milk from cows treated with BGH and antibiotics to increase milk production" is to look at the side of the milk carton, Afell.

      June 13, 2011 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
  23. Fiona

    The first six items on the "dirty" list have zero taste if grown conventionally (conventional strawberries, especially, are bland and nearly scentless). The organic versions taste like they are supposed to (there is nothing like a perfectly ripe, organic peach). That's reason enough to buy organic, for me. But even if you don't care about taste, and don't care about chemical residue in your body, please consider the environmental impact on wildlife that convention farming has - impact on birds, insects and aquatic life above all.

    Another reason to look for organic produce is variety. In my area of the world, buying organic means having many heirloom varieties of apples, tomatoes, peppers, etc., to choose from. Varieties that are not grown conventionally or commercially.

    June 13, 2011 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. cg1234

    Scientists have officially proven that Round Up causes birth defects. If you won't buy organic for yourself at least buy it for the pregnant/breastfeeding people in your life!
    Organic really does taste better too. I ate organic apples among other organic foods for a few weeks while I was having some health problems then when I went back to pesticide apples the chemical taste overpowered the sweetness. When I eat pesticide apples I eat them like I would eat an orange sliced with the peel on. I bite the inside of a pesticide apple slice and throw the skin part away if I'm too lazy to peel it. Organic apples are a dollar each, but it's worth it. Celery was the same. I had to spit a raw piece of celery out because the chemical taste was so strong. Go organic for a few weeks and you will see what I'm talking about. I couldn't believe it.


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

      I am pro-organic, but it makes me angry when people push gross misinformation in the name or organics...to promote anti-corproate hysteria. Glyphosphate (Round Up) was shown to cause malformations in some lab animals when administered in very HIGH DOSES that would not occur when the product is used properly. it's an unfortunate practice in product safety labs to overdose animals and extrapolate that into accrued exposure over time. It doesn't correlate most of the time. So avoid Round Up to protest the abuse of animals in laboratories, or because you hate Monsanto. But don't skew the lab data. Glyphosphate is short-lived in the environment and has the lowest toxicity level of any herbicide out there.

      June 13, 2011 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
  25. Apfan

    I was expecting to see fandroids complaining about another apple article.

    June 13, 2011 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Al

    I think it's time people get used to seeing a worm in the apple. And realize that it is a natural thing and actually proves that apples are good to eat for us and worms and not a factory of chemicals. after all afraid the worm which will eat you not the one which you eat.

    June 13, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. JustAFarmBoy23

    For those farms growing organic, how many have been growing organic from the very beginning? How many were using pesticides before switching to organic? I'm asking because if they were using pesticides, wouldn't these pesticides still be in the soil, and would also affect the organic crop? What about the surrounding area? Are any nearby fields using pesticides, and if they are, how many of the organic crop is affected by the pesticides from neighboring fields?

    I find it hard to believe that one can tell if a piece of fruit is 100% organic without actually having a detailed history of where it was grown in the first place.

    June 13, 2011 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fiona

      A field has to be "clean" for a number of years before it can produce an organic crop. I don't know the requirements for orchards. Growers can lose their organic status if pesticide drifts from a nearby conventional field, which happened where I live. It's strictly regulated.

      June 13, 2011 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      So you say that pesticides are safe and then turn around and say that a field has to be "clean" for so many years before it can be cerified as organic. If pesticides are safe then why would their toxic residue last in the fields, plants, for so many years? Didn't someone named Howie say they "wash right off"??

      June 13, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
  28. JustAFarmBoy23

    Orchards may be a different ball of wax. Unless you replant all the trees, I'm sure the pesticides that were used in previous years will still be affecting the fruit produced by those trees.

    I wonder how many years it takes for a field to be "clean"? I'm thinking more of decades that years considering how heavily used pesticides and other chemicals were used in the past 50 years.

    June 13, 2011 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Byrd

    Welcome to America, where companies, if they can make even one penny of profit, will sell you poison and call it food.
    Collectively, the term for this type of poisoning goes by the name Monsanto.

    June 13, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. MJ South

    More hype!! I go with chemicals properly used and within guidelines.

    June 13, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. nofoldems

    It's good to be Apple 🙂

    June 13, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Bob

    The apple issue is the end where the stem is and the opposite end. It is hard to wash those places. If you don't eat those areas, you won't get much of a dose. You can eat organic but the but I'd bet that if you did a swipe on the surface of both, not at the end, you wouldn't see much difference in pesticide levels.

    TV(sitting on your butt) will kill you long before the food supply will.

    June 13, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • martin2176

      love your comment lol

      June 13, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
  33. Bruce Small

    Buying organic will NOT bypass pesticides because plants protect themselves with natural pesticides (and herbicides), both of which are carcinogens. Organic will just help you avoid artificial additives.

    June 13, 2011 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sue

      And these "natural pesticides (and hericides)" are what, exactly? Please explain. Thanks.

      June 13, 2011 at 15:57 | Report abuse |
    • HZD

      Additives in apples? What are you talking about? This isn't the meat market, where they pump animals full of steroids and other hormones. They are apples.

      June 13, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
  34. Machismo

    So the FDA thinks the levels of bug poison are OK?

    June 13, 2011 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Hannah

    USDA certified organic produce is ACTUALLY sprayed with MORE pesticides than non organic. Organic simply means that the chemicals lack the synthetic waxy material that helps the pesticide cling to the plant. Organic produce actually has to be sprayed with pesticides, herbicides more often than those that are not. But, they will never tell you that, because they want you to believe that you're eating something that has nothing on it. it's CRAP! Go to a farmers market and ask a USDA certified organic grower if they use pesticides.

    June 13, 2011 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doubtful

      Your statement is too general and is misleading. All organic produce is not grown the same. Different farmers use different organic methods and different levels of chemicals, which are plant derived when organic. There is a differance in the chemicals used, whether they are used or not. Some organic farming uses no pesticides of herbicides at all. It's called biodynamic farming.

      June 13, 2011 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
    • ADiff

      Organics are grown with a variant set of pesticides, many actually far more dangerous than those used by 'normal' un-affected (!) producers.

      June 13, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
    • Doubtful

      Adiff, there has not actually been enough proper scientific studies done on chemicals used in organics to be able to determine without a doubt that they are more or less dangerous than conventional. This is part of the reason the debate on organic vs. conventional rages on. This is also true for conventional chemicals. There just isn't enough evidence to be able to make any statement one way or the other. Anyone making generalizations concerning definate harm from supposed food grade chemicals in farming don't know what they are talking about and are probably making reactionary statements based on what they consider to be some sort of conspiracy.

      June 13, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
  36. Doubtful

    Your info about carcinogens in plants sounds suspect, because you sound as if you are generalizing. All plants do not use the same defensive chemicals or tactics for defense. I would also like to read your scientific sources for the statement about plants, presumably edible plants, causing cancer. Big statements of "facts" require facts to back them up.

    June 13, 2011 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doubtful

      The above was supposed to be a response to the staement by Bruce Small.

      June 13, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
  37. Joe in Colorado

    To United Fresh Produce: Well, then, clean it up! My family will only eat domestic organic everything.

    June 13, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. ADiff

    Thank you to an advocacy group with an agenda for pointing out that pesticide residue far below the level plausibly associated with any impact on consumers is common....as it is for just about everything else on Earth consumed (including so-called 'organic' products), drunk, worn or breathed.

    Total crap report.

    June 13, 2011 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. martin2176

    Anything where the skin is peeled before eating falls in list2 and everything else in list1. (there is 1 odd out) How much did they spend on this study ?

    June 13, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. paganguy

    Vote Republican. They will eliminate the EPA and al the controls on all pesticides. Let Monsanto rule.

    June 13, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Jeff in Illinois

    Organic? Where is all this non-carbon based food everyone is eating?

    June 13, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Ruth Chris

    This is exactly why I eat only meat...that I kill myself .......from the frozen tundra.......raw to avoid the carcinogens

    June 13, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Ryan in Michigan

    I like how the article makes mention of those of us who can't afford or don't have access to the completely organic food, such as myself and many people in my region rather than saying we should find it and pay for it at all costs as many articles (and commentors) do. As for my family, we always have and always will wash anything we eat before we eat it to eliminate the pesticides and bacteria that may be left behind, not to mention all the people handling the food before we did.

    June 13, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. HZD

    Guys, buy organic if you want to. But this whole "I would never let my kids eat stuff that was sprayed with chemicals" nonsense has to go. Organic stuff is sprayed - about three times more often. And the chemicals that are allowed don't just have to occur naturally. Some of the compounds are completely synthetic but still approved to be "certified organic." The chemicals used by apple farmers are all thoroughly and repeatedly tested by the EPA, and you have nothing to worry about. I am sick of all these headline grabbing organizations that try to freak people out as a way of pushing their agenda. Don't be fooled either way.

    June 13, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • doubtful

      The reason some people are wary of the chemicals in farming is because actual doctors have released statements about potential harm to children. I understand your doubts, because there have not been enough studies done or studies recognized by the USDA to determine one way or the other. But, if a doctor tells me it is harmful, I'm going to keep an open mind about potential harm.

      June 13, 2011 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
  45. Veggie Grower from Way Back

    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.
    Pretty pathetic that there is even a choice or that the poor suffer again due to this machine we call the United States! This crap just should NOT be on our food...end of story. How is it even allowed? Why are we not standing up?

    June 13, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. jimmynog

    A recent study done of many thousands of consumers over decades showed that people who eat only organic produce do not derive any health benefit over people that consume non-organic produce. They don't live any longer, and they are not any more immune from illness. The only difference that was determined is that people buying organic spent a helluva a lot more money on food - with nothing to show for it.

    June 13, 2011 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doubtful

      Please list your sources for this study you are talking about. Not that it may not be true, but that type of statement needs back up.

      June 13, 2011 at 17:06 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      This was a British study, you can locate it easily using Google. The finding was that organic foods provide no more nutritional value than foods grown using conventional farming methods. Doesn't surprise me a bit.

      June 13, 2011 at 18:37 | Report abuse |
  47. NGN

    But why are organics so much MORE expensive. Cost is a major concern, especially in this economy.

    June 13, 2011 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. purpose

    Commercial hype about organic health benefits aside, what most don't realize or mention is that organic farming is about attempting to protect the environment from harm. The supposed health benefits are used as a sales tactic. The real reason for organic farming is to try to protect the land, not nessesarily the people eating the food. It isn't perfect, but it is progress in environmental protection and an ability to use land long term.

    June 13, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Alex

    Organic growers use pesticides too, and not always organic ones. That's the myth of organic produce, that it's pesticide free. Kind of sad to see so many of the fruits and vegetables that I eat on the toxic list. Especially because of the new government "food plate" that says we should be eating more fruits and vegetables (from the contaminated list). I'm going back to bacon.

    June 13, 2011 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Super flab

    I market twinkies and Ho Ho's, keep the articles coming so all you fat, over weight, ignorant americans can have a new excuse to buy my wares! What a bunch of morons, we've got the safest food supply in the world including produce with pesticides now being tested in parts per billion. This is great!! A perfect apple or a twinkie, definitely go with the twinkie, maybe a fruit pie or a bag of chips, what a bunch of dopes!! Go out and do your homework but since you seemingly have the mental agility of a small soapdish head out for store for some more sugar and fat, unbelievable! Why does anyone think organics are safer, buy twinkies!

    June 13, 2011 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
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