SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – Many of us are concerned about pesticides on fruits and vegetables. But if you can not afford to buy organic all the time, what can you do?

A new guide published Monday by the Environmental Working Group, a public health advocacy organization, has released two lists detailing the amount of pesticides in fruit and vegetables.

The lists, called the “Clean 15” and the “Dirty Dozen” uses data from the United States Government. Each year, scientists with the USDA test dozens of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables – most washed and peeled – for pesticide residue.

According to the group, the top five offenders in the “Dirty Dozen” are apples, celery, strawberries peaches and spinach. While the top five fruits and vegetables in the “Clean 15” are onions, corn, pineapples, avocado and asparagus.

Renee Sharp, a staff scientist and Director of the Environmental Working Group in California, said no one should conclude that this list should discourage consumers from eating a diet rich in fresh produce, conventionally grown or organic. This guide, she said, allows consumers choice so they can decide when to buy conventional and why to buy organic.

“Not everyone wants to buy and consume pesticides with their food. So with this guide, basically you don’t have to,” said Sharp.

The California Farm Bureau Federation said when it comes to pesticide residue that California farmers adhere to some of the most stringent regulations in the world. The Washington Apple Growers Group adds that the residue falls within USDA guidelines which their apple growers stringently follow.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (3)
  1. What? says:

    Where’s the rest of the list?

  2. Organic Trade says:

    The Organic Trade Association would like to remind readers that while choosing organic helps to support personal health by enabling consumers to avoid pesticides and hormones, this is just one of the many benefits it offers. Choosing organic also helps to reduce exposure to synthetic fertilizers, GMOs, antibiotics, irradiation and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. It also helps to ensure that the animals from which organic products are fed 100% organic feed and are raised in a manner that supports good health and promotes natural behavior. Moreover, choosing organic supports a system of sustainable agricultural management that promotes soil health and fertility through the use of such methods as crop rotation and cover cropping, which nourish plants, foster species diversity, help combat climate change, prevent damage to valuable water resources, and protect farmers and farmers’ families from exposure to harmful chemicals. In this sense, buying organic is a commitment to the bigger, more complex picture of which our personal health is a part.

    Organic. It’s worth it.

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