USDA’s Economic Research Service estimates that the organically produced food sector (just 4 percent of all U.S. food sales) has enjoyed double-digit growth in recent years. This trend is particularly strong for sales of organic fruits and vegetables, which account for the lion’s share of all organic food sales. USDA economists reported that organic produce sales spiked from $5.4 billion in 2005 to an estimated $15 billion last year, increasing by 11 percent between 2013 and 2014.
Most retail grocers now have robust organic produce offerings and you find these items on-sale just like any other item.
Most people who want to reduce exposure to pesticides in produce can’t find, or sadly can’t afford an all-organic diet. The result is most of us seek out conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that tend to test low for pesticide residues to round out our diets, and then for foods testing high for pesticide residues we are making the extra effort to locate organic versions.
Information To Help Choose Organic Fruits and Vegetables Over Non-Organic
Dirty Dozen Foods For 2015
This past year the list of fruits and vegetables that comprises the list of worst offenders includes: apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas, and potatoes.
Foods on this list tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and showed higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce items.
12 Most Contaminated Non-Organic Foods
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Grapes (Imported)
The Clean Twelve Non-Organic Foods
There are also many lists of produce items least likely to hold pesticide residues: These lists typically include: avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Usually relatively few pesticides are detected on these foods when tested by the USDA, or found concentrations of pesticides are low.
12 Least Contaminated Non-Organic Foods
- Sweet Corn (Frozen)
- Sweet Peas (Frozen)
- Kiwi Fruit
Smart shopping choices really matters. People who eat organic produce eat fewer pesticides. A study by Cynthia Curl of the University of Washington published February 5, found that people who report they “often, or always” buy organic produce had significantly less organophosphate insecticides in their urine samples, even though they ate 70 percent more servings of fruits and vegetables per day than adults reporting they “rarely, or never” purchased organic produce.