Consumer Reports Cheat Sheet: What to Buy Organic

Posted on April 21st, 2015 by Seth Nickinson

Consumer Reports is a well-respected American organization and publication. It is nearly 80 years old, operates as a non-profit, and accepts no advertising money. Turns out, this venerated mainstream group comes out way in favor of organic fruits and vegetables as a basic choice. That’s for health, the environment, and people who grow your food.

“We’re exposed to a cocktail of chemicals from our food on a daily basis,” says Michael Crupain, M.D., M.P.H., director of Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body. “It’s not realistic to expect we wouldn’t have any pesticides in our bodies in this day and age, but that would be the ideal,” says Crupain. “We just don’t know enough about the health effects.”

Yet, they are also realistic that buying organic is not always accessible or cost-effective. So they have put together their recommendations on which specific items it’s a priority to buy organic. For example, they point out that from a chemical load point of view, choosing U.S. grown green beans is 200x as risky as broccoli.

The top 5 to choose organic?

  • Peaches
  • Carrots
  • Strawberries
  • Green Beans
  • Sweet Bell Peppers

Helpful video:

Full chart:


This work is very similar to the “Pesticides in Produce” research that the Environmental Working Group has published annually for years.  They produce a handy-dandy wallet card covering what they call the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen.”


Read the original article at Consumer Reports.