From Crop to Table
Pesticides are unique among manufactured chemical products: they are designed to be toxic to living organisms and are applied to the foods we eat. The use of pesticides in agriculture can affect not only consumers who eat foods with residues, but also farmworkers, rural residents, wildlife and pollinators that are exposed when pesticides are used in the fields. Consumers can play a key role in reducing the use of pesticides in agriculture by buying foods grown without the use of industrial and toxic pesticides.
Finding Produce with the Lowest Pesticide Residues
We always recommend organic produce as the best choice. When organic options are not available, our guide helps you find nonorganic produce with the lowest levels of harmful pesticides. Our guide is based on a number of factors: the amount and frequency of residues on a given food, the typical serving size of that food, the weight of the person consuming the food, and the toxicity of the pesticide as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency.
There are many labels that can help you make better choices when it comes to how farms and pesticide use are managed. We created a table to show which labels are verified and which labels are backed by meaningful standards that prohibit or limit the number of toxic pesticides. The table also shows whether the standards allow, prohibit or restrict the use of 18 specific pesticides of concern.