Organic Foods - Overview
According to the Environmental Working Group, a
nonprofit group that analyzes the results of government pesticide testing in
the U.S., these are the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide
levels, in order from most to least:
- Bell Peppers
- Kale/Collard Greens
- Grapes (Imported)
© 2009 Environmental Working Group. Adapted with
If you don't want to buy organic food, there are
other steps you can take to lower the amount of pesticides on your food:
- Wash raw fruits and vegetables under running water before eating them. Use a scrub brush when it will not bruise the food. Otherwise rub the food by hand to clean it.
- Peel apples, pears, and peaches, especially before you give
them to children.
Remember that eating nonorganic fruits and vegetables,
even those with higher pesticide levels, is better than not eating fruits and
vegetables at all.
What does GMO mean?
GMO stands for "genetically
modified organism," which is a plant or animal whose DNA has been changed in a
lab. Scientists can take genes from one type of organism and put them in
another. Many people believe that GMOs make food healthier or last longer. Many
of the foods in our food supply contain GMOs.
But some people
worry that not enough testing has been done to know whether GMOs are harmful.
In most countries, foods that are labeled "organic" are not supposed to contain
You may see food labels that say "no GMO," "non-GMO,"
or "GMO free." This is a claim by the maker that the product does not contain
any GMOs. There is some debate, though, about how accurate such labels are.
Organic foods may come in contact with GMOs even though the farmer or grower
follows the rules for organic farming.