Pesticide Guide Keeps You Safe on the Produce Aisle

This article was written by Robin Shreeves for the Mother Nature Network If you’re concerned about the pesticides in the fruits and vegetables you eat, you’re not alone. According to a survey of 1,050 people done by Consumer Reports, 85 percent of Americans have concerns about the pesticides in their produce. With studies that show that exposure to pesticides may be a contributing to factor to health issues like food allergies, Parkinson's, ADHD and autism, the concern is justifiable.

Because of these concerns Consumer Reports released “Rules to Shop By,” a risk guide for conventional produce. This guide has more thorough information at a glance than the Environmental Working Group’s “Shopper’s Guide to Produce.”

Consumer Reports analyzed 12 years of data from the Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program. It looked at produce according to the country of origination and puts it into one of five risk categories, based on the risk to a 3 1/2-year-old child, estimated to weigh 35.2 pounds.

  • Very low: 100 or more daily servings
  • Low: 10 to 100 daily servings
  • Medium: 5 to 10 daily servings
  • High: 1 to 5 daily servings
  • Very high: 1 daily serving

Don't be thrown by the number of servings in the list above. The chart and research are based on what's called an FS-DRI score (Food Supply-Dietary Risk Index), which determines how many daily servings would push you over the healthy limit of pesticide intake. It's unlikely that you'll eat 100 or more daily servings of any food item, so that puts the very low risk into perspective...