The Organic Center Releases Comprehensive Organic Shopper’s Pocket Guide

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Pocket Guide Helps Shoppers Easily Identify the Foods to Always Buy Organic to Avoid Pesticides and GMOs and Maximize Nutrient Intake

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By using the guide as a resource, families can more easily stay within budget while still eating foods that are both good for their health and good for the planet," said Sara Snow, green lifestyle expert and board member of The Organic Center.

The Organic Center today announced the release of a comprehensive shopper’s guide, Organic Essentials, designed to help shoppers reduce their pesticide risk, eat foods that contain the most nutrients and avoid GMOs. The Organic Center is a leading research and education institute focused on the science of organic food and farming.

The pocket guide was developed using The Organic Center’s "Dietary Risk Index" (DRI), which calculates the dietary risks associated with pesticide residues found in different foods tested by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The rankings are determined after analyzing the frequency of pesticide residues on a given food, the average level of residues found and their toxicity. Pesticide residue data from the USDA and toxicity data from the Environmental Protection Agency are used in calculating the DRI.

While the pocket guide can be used year-round, it is even more important to utilize in the winter months when the majority of produce is imported from abroad. Based on The Organic Center’s 2008 report, "Simplifying the Pesticide Risk Equation: The Organic Option," imported produce can pose pesticide risks between two to three times higher than produce grown in the U.S.

“The pocket guide is meant to be a go-to resource for shoppers to more easily maximize their intake of health-promoting foods while minimizing their exposure to toxic synthetic pesticides and GMOs,” said Sara Snow, green lifestyle expert and board member of The Organic Center. “Such a resource is especially helpful during the holiday season when budgets are tight and consumers are looking for ways to determine what items to purchase organic. By using the guide as a resource, families can more easily stay within budget while still eating foods that are both good for their health and good for the planet.”

The following fruits and vegetables consistently rank the highest for pesticide residue and therefore should always be purchased organic:


1. Green Beans
2. Sweet Bell Peppers
3. Kale
4. Sweet Potatoes
5. Collard Greens
6. Summer Squash
7. Potatoes
8. Spinach
9. Mushrooms

In addition to ranking the pesticide risk of a variety of fruits and vegetables, the pocket guide also provides other important organic facts and figures, including:

•The list of the top super foods with the highest nutrients per serving includes:

  • Fruits – Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Pumpkins, Mangoes, and Papayas
  • Vegetables – Kale, Collard Greens, Artichokes, Turnips, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Asparagus, and Avocadoes

•A list of conventional foods to avoid buying due to the likelihood that they are genetically modified or contain GMOs include: Corn, Canola, Soy Beans, Cotton, Hawaiian Papaya, Sugar Beets, Yellow Crookneck Squash, and Zucchini

Because little to no independent scientific research has been published about the long-term health and environmental effects of genetically modified foods, The Organic Center opposes their use in the U.S. This is consistent with 30-plus countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the European Union countries, each of whom has significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GE crops. Consumer support for this shift can also be seen through the newly formed Just Lable It campaign and the Right2Know March, which saw thousands of Americans march from New York City to Washington, D.C. to demand that all genetically modified foods in the U.S. be labeled.

To download the free Shopper’s Guide and start shopping better now, please visit The Organic Center’s website at

About The Organic Center
The Organic Center's unique mission is to conduct credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming and to communicate them to the public. As an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) research and education organization, we envision improved health for the world and its people through organic production. All of The Organic Center's research reports, publications, consumer guides, and videos are available free at and


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