WATSONVILLE, Calif.--(toxicologists surveyed say that the EWG is guilty of over-estimating risk to consumers.)--The Environmental Working Group, an activist organization, has once again released its “Dirty Dozen” list which a panel of scientists and the EWG themselves say is not risk based. Further, these scientists say that this “Dirty Dozen” list is actually misleading to consumers and should not be used when making purchasing decisions about fruits and vegetables. This list is yet another example of why 79% of
“fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.”
EWG develops its list through manipulation of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program results and the Federal Food and Drug Administration’s pesticide sampling data. “What is interesting is that EWG recently asked their membership to sign a petition calling for continued consumer access to ‘organic or low pesticide residue foods’ and the USDA and FDA sampling data clearly shows that this is what consumers are receiving,” says Marilyn Dolan, executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming, a group that represents both organic and conventional farmers.
When residues are present on food, consumers can see for themselves how low they actually are by using a new calculator tool now available on the safefruitsandveggies.com website. The calculator is based on a scientific analysis which shows that even a small child could eat hundreds or even thousands of servings of a fruit or vegetable without any impact at all from pesticide residues. “This would certainly seem to fit any definition of ‘low pesticide residue’ foods,” Dolan says.
The government sampling data results also demonstrate that farmers aren’t just meeting the safety standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency, they are significantly exceeding them. “The crops sampled by USDA are shown to have either no residues at all or residues are 10 times to 100 times below the already stringent safety limits,” Dolan says.
For consumers who may still be concerned about these very low levels of pesticide residues, they can follow the simple advice from the Federal Food and Drug Administration – just wash your fruits and vegetables. The FDA states that washing under running tap water can remove and often eliminate any minute pesticide residues that may be present. “Whether you choose organic or conventionally grown produce, washing is a healthful practice that should be followed prior to consuming fresh produce,” Dolan says.
Perhaps the most important advice from the government came last week with the release of the USDA’s long-awaited new food icon, MyPlate. To the applause of nutritionists and health officials, the government advises consumers to “fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.” Further underscoring the importance of this recommendation are two new studies that have shown a correlation between inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables and lower IQs and a higher incident of behavioral disorders in children.
For more information visit the safefruitsandveggies.com website.
About the Alliance for Food and Farming
The Alliance for Food and Farming is a non-profit organization formed in 1989. Its membership includes approximately 50 agriculture associations, commodity groups and individual growers/shippers who represent farms of all sizes and includes conventional as well as organic production. The Alliance works to provide a voice for farmers to communicate their commitment to food safety and care for the land. Learn more about the Alliance at http://www.safefruitsandveggies.com/faq/faq_about.php