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Originally published October 20 2015

New Consumer Report guide breaks down the risks from eating 48 conventional fruit and veggies from 14 different countries

by Julie Wilson staff writer

(NaturalNews) More than 85 percent of Americans are concerned about pesticide residue on their fruits and vegetables, according to a recent Consumer Reports survey of 1,050 people. However, many people are confused as to what to do about it, which is understandable, because if you aren't growing your own food yet, buying organic isn't exactly cheap.

The news about our food is everywhere, making it nearly impossible to avoid these days. But a lot of it is contradictory and can be difficult to decipher if you don't know the facts. Are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) necessary to feed the world's growing population, or are they destroying our planet one field at a time?

While the biotech industry would adamantly disagree, the truth is that they aren't sustainable, and they absolutely have not been proven safe to eat. Controversy continues to surround GMOs and their associated pesticides, and not just because of activists like the Food Babe, but because of emerging research that continues to unveil the harsh consequences of increased pesticide use in the U.S.

Traces of 29 chemicals detected in the average American's body, CDC admits

Different foods are sprayed with varying amounts of pesticides. For example, eating one serving of green beans from the U.S. is 200 times riskier than consuming American-grown broccoli, according to Consumer Reports.

Strawberries have been known to carry upwards of 36 different types of pesticides, and 39 were found on raspberries, an important reminder to buy organic berries, as they often carry more chemicals than other fruits.

It's unsurprising to learn that there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American's body, as admitted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"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," said Michael Crupain, M.D., M.P.D., director of Consumer Reports' Food Safety and Sustainability Center. "We just don't know enough about the health effects."

All organic produce falls into low- or very-low-risk categories, new assessment finds

Determining which foods are best to buy organic can be daunting; however, all you need is quick access to a few guides that can make grocery shopping easier. Consumer Reports recently released an excellent risk guide that places fruits and vegetables into five risk categories ranging from very low to very high.

Using 12 years of data from the Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Data Program, and a few other sources, this new tool shows the risk of pesticide exposure from eating 48 conventional fruits and vegetables from 14 different countries.

The risk assessment includes the number of pesticide residues on each food, the frequency at which they were found and the toxicity of the pesticides. Since children are more susceptible to pesticide toxicity, the assessment is based on the risk to a 3 1/2-year-old child, estimated to weigh about 35.2 pounds.

Consumer Reports recommends buying any produce in the medium- to very-high-risk category organic. Different foods grown in different countries have varying risk levels. For example, celery grown in Mexico has a very low risk level, while U.S.-grown celery is listed as having a medium risk.

Cherry tomatoes grown in the U.S have a low risk level, while cherry tomatoes grown in Mexico have a high risk. Cucumbers grown in Canada have a low risk level, while cucumbers grown in Mexico and the U.S. have a high risk level.

On average, the report shows cilantro, grapes, green onions and mushrooms to be low-risk, while peaches, green beans, sweet bell peppers, sweet potatoes and tangerines are considered high- to very-high-risk.

For a complete list of the foods and their risk levels, click here.

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