The Organic Center Releases "Organic Essentials" Free Pocket Guide Helps Minimize Pesticide Dietary Risks

BOULDER, Colo. – July 8, 2008 – Do you know that the greatest risks from pesticides in the diet come from eating conventionally produced fruits and vegetables? A new complimentary pocket guide can help consumers avoid the highest-risk fresh produce during both the summer season and winter, when a significant share of fresh produce is imported.

Available for free download at The Organic Center's Web site,, the "Organic Essentials" pocket guide presents lists of conventional fruits and vegetables that the Center has determined pose the most significant pesticide-related risks and – therefore – are the most critical produce items for consumers to purchase as organic.

In the wallet-sized four-fold guide, "Organic Essentials" offers two lists covering domestically grown fruits and vegetables that pose the greatest pesticide dietary risks, while two other lists apply to imported produce that typically enters the U.S. market in the wintertime.

In 1993 the National Academy of Sciences released a widely acclaimed report entitled Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children. The report set forth a compelling case to protect infants and children from developmental problems triggered by pesticide exposures. Unfortunately, the reforms recommended by the NAS have been just partially implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency. As a result, there have been only modest changes in the uses of several risky pesticides in conventional farming over the last 15 years.

"Consumers eagerly want to know more about the healthful benefits of organic food and farming. Too often, in the bustle of the grocery aisles, they don't have the time or the information to make the most appropriate purchases," said Dr. Chuck Benbrook, Ph.D., chief scientist with The Organic Center. "We hope consumers will download the guide and put it in their wallets so they will have at their fingertips information on the most important organic produce to buy to reduce pesticide risks to themselves and their families."

The non-profit Organic Center ( generates and advances peer-reviewed scientific research and information on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming. Recent Center reports have highlighted options to essentially eliminate the risks associated with the use of toxic synthetic pesticides in commercial food production. All reports and a free monthly newsletter, The Scoop, are available at no cost at

The Organic Center has created a new program to expand the distribution of the pocket guide by inviting interested companies to print guides that include the company's logo. Thus far, companies supporting this program are Veritable Vegetable, Nature's Path Organics, Organic Valley, and Horizon Organic.

"Organic Essentials"

The pocket guide presents pesticide risk rankings for several key fruits and vegetables and is based on The Organic Center's March 2008 report, Simplifying the Pesticide Risk Equation: The Organic Option. The following fruits and vegetables present the highest risk:

Domestically Grown Conventional Fruits

1. Cranberries
2. Nectarines
3. Peaches
4. Strawberries
5. Pears

Domestically Grown Conventional Vegetables

1. Green beans
2. Sweet bell peppers
3. Celery
4. Cucumbers
5. Potatoes

Imported Conventional Fruits

1. Grapes
2. Nectarines
3. Peaches
4. Pears
5. Strawberries

Imported Conventional Vegetables

1. Sweet bell peppers
2. Lettuce
3. Cucumbers
4. Celery
5. Tomatoes

About The Organic Center

The Organic Center, based in Boulder, CO, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2002 to generate and advance credible, peer-reviewed scientific research and information on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming – and to communicate those benefits to the public through education, resources and information. By doing so, it helps promote the conversion of more farmland to organic methods, improve public health, and work to restore our natural world through more sustainable and ecological practices. All of The Organic Center's research reports and publications are available free at Individuals can also sign up for our free monthly e-newsletter, "The Scoop." For information about The Organic Center, its current programs and scientific reports please visit or call 303.499.1840.

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