Scientists and health experts overwhelmingly agree that the mere presence of pesticide residues on food does not mean they are harmful.
Health experts and scientists say produce, grown either conventionally or organically, is safe to eat for you and your children. Not only are conventionally and organically grown fruits and vegetables safe and nutritious, Americans should be consuming more of these, not less, if they hope to reduce their risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.Get Started
When considering the safety of any substance, it is important to understand what is known as a "dose-response relationship." This means that almost every substance — even water or oxygen — can be toxic at some level. For every product there is a point, or a dose level, that will not produce a response in a living organism. In the world of pesticide regulation, that point is called the No Observed Adverse Effect Level.
The United States Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Data Program has been in existence for nearly twenty years and is designed to continually measure pesticide residues on food to ensure they are safe to eat by any age group — especially children — over a long period of time.
A man could consume
servings of apples in one day
without any effect even if the apples have the highest pesticide residue recorded for apples by USDA.
Health experts, the government and environmental groups all agree that increasing consumption of conventional and organic produce can improve health and prevent diseases. Learn more about the specific nutritional benefits of your favorite fruits and veggies below. Read more here.
Scientists, nutritionists, health and farming experts all agree that consumers should not rely on the shopping guide lists when deciding which fruits and vegetables to purchase. Instead, consumers should simply follow the advice of health experts everywhere and eat more fruits and vegetables whether they are conventional or organically-grown.Read the science
"U.S. food does not pose a safety concern based upon pesticide residues."United States Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Data Program Report.
"If one-half of the U.S. population were to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by one serving each per day, an estimated 20,000 cancer cases might be avoided each year.”Estimation of Cancer Risks and Benefits Associated With a Potential Increased Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables, Food and Chemical Toxicology.
“The newest data from the PDP program confirm that pesticide residues in food do not pose a safety concern for Americans. EPA remains committed to a rigorous, science-based, and transparent regulatory program for pesticides that continues to protect people’s health and the environment.”Environmental Protection Agency Statement on USDA’s Pesticide Data Program Report.
“By 2030, more than half of Americans could be obese, resulting in millions of new cases of diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke -- a constellation of illness that could cost the United States up to $66 billion in treatment and over $500 billion in lost economic productivity.”The Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report, "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future."
“For all of us involved in promoting better consumer health, increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables is among our main objectives. The benefits of consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables are absolutely indisputable. Consumers should eat both organic and conventionally grown produce without worrying about minute levels of pesticide residues.”Dr. Carl Keen, Professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine at University of California, Davis.
“As long as they’re eating proper portions, as long as half of their meal is fruits and vegetables alongside their lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, then we’re good. It’s as simple as that,”First Lady Michelle Obama, ABC News.
"You don’t have to eat organic to eat healthily. Eating real food, whether it’s organic or not, is going to do a lot for your health. Any apple is good for you."Michael Pollan, Best Selling Author, Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism, University of California, Berkeley and Lecturer on Food, Agriculture, Health and the Environment. Boston Globe, January 2012.
“A focus on nutrition in general would be much more beneficial to human health than this misguided focus on extraordinarily small contamination levels of pesticides. Every chemical has toxicity, but it’s all in the dose. The amount of pesticides present as residues on food is miniscule.”Discovery News. Samuel Cohen, a pathologist with expertise in toxicology and carcinogenesis, University of Nebraska Medical Center. August 2011.
“The amount of pesticide residues that an average person ingests throughout an entire year is even less than the amount of those ‘harmful’ substances in one cup of coffee… Unfounded fears about the dangers of pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables may stop many consumers from buying these fresh, healthful foods. In response, some stores sell “organic” foods grown without synthetic pesticides, but these foods are much more expensive and out of reach of low-income populations. As a result people – especially those that are poor – may consume fewer fruits and vegetables.”Dr. Bruce Ames, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley. Member, National Academy of Sciences. Recipient , National Medal Of Science.
“You can reduce and often eliminate residues if they are present on fresh fruits and vegetables by following these simple tips: Wash produce with large amounts of cold or warm tap water, and scrub with a brush when appropriate; do not use soap.”Federal Food and Drug Administration.
“People who ate two or fewer servings of fruits and vegetables a day were significantly less optimistic than people who ate three or more servings a day according to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health. Last year, scientists at Warwick University found that people who ate seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day are the happiest.”Daily Mail (United Kingdom)
“EWG believes both organic and conventional produce is safe to eat.”Alex Formuzis, Vice President, Environmental Working Group. Huffington Post.
After reading the information on the safefruitsandveggies.com website, we hope consumers are reassured about the safety of both conventional and organic produce. But if you are still a bit concerned about pesticide residues there is a simple step consumers can take: Just wash it!
Here's what the Federal Food and Drug Administration says:
Washing fresh produce before eating is a healthful habit. You can reduce and often eliminate residues if they are present on fresh fruits and vegetables by following these simple tips:
- Wash produce with large amounts of cold or warm tap water, and scrub with a brush when appropriate; do not use soap.
- Throw away the outer leaves of leafy vegetables, such as lettuce and cabbage.
These washing steps should be followed for both conventional and organically grown produce to remove any pesticide residues, dirt or bacteria. Please remember to clean hands, scrub brushes or colandars before using to wash your fresh fruits and vegetables.