Researchers used data collected by the USDA, Consumers Union (CU), and California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) to compare the amount of pesticide residue on organic versus conventional foods.

Organic samples

23 percent contained at least one pesticide residue.

27 percent had at least one pesticide residue.

Less likely than conventional samples to contain pesticide residue.

Conventional samples

73 percent had at least one pesticide residue. Six times as likely as organic samples to contain multiple pesticides.

79 percent had at least one pesticide residue. Ten times as likely as organic samples to contain multiple pesticides.

Five times as likely as organic samples to contain residues.

Conventional produce with the most pesticide residue
Fruits: More than 90 percent of USDA-tested, conventionally grown apples, peaches, pears, and strawberries had pesticide residues. Peaches, strawberries, and pears routinely carried multiple residue types.

Veggies: Up to 14 residue types were found on conventional green peppers and spinach.

—B.E.

Source: Food Additives and Contaminants, 2002, vol. 19, no. 5.