Put non-organic fruits and veggies on the table and you could wind up with a plate full of pesticides, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service Pesticide Data Program (do not under any circumstances try to say that with your mouth full). The agency's latest annual study on pesticide residues in food finds that there are significant differences in levels found in conventionally-grown, chemically treated produce compared with levels in organic varieties.
Many people don't believe that there's much distinction between organic and non-organic foods, so when differences are uncovered, it's important to take note. In this case, the research found many kinds of pesticide residue that range from chlorpyrifos on cilantro to pentachloroaniline on potatoes.
Organic foods studied had only the occasional trace element of chemicals -- unwanted visitors that came from elsewhere in the environment. When detected, these slight levels represent an infinitely small health concern compared with the levels found in conventional crops raised in a chemical soup.
You can read the report (warning: you'll need a herculean attention span) or just take the Organic Trade Association's word for what it says. Either way, once again, we're left with a lesson worth chewing on: that we'd all be wise to go organic.