AFF Opinion Piece In Supermarket News

4/9/2014 11:52 AM

The Alliance for Food and Farming was asked to submit an opinion piece to Supermarket News as part of the publication's new "Taking Sides" feature.  Supermarket News is a leading retail trade publication.  Here is the AFF's opinion piece:

Q: Should consumers be concerned  about pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables?

The Environmental Working Group will put out its annual Shopper Guide and “Dirty Dozen” list this spring that lists the produce that the group says has the highest level of pesticide residues. EWG recommends that consumers buy organic varieties of the produce on the list. Opponents claim that this list needlessly scares consumers away from eating more fruits and vegetables.

Marilyn Dolan, executive director, Alliance for Food and Farming

There is substantial misinformation about the pesticide residue issue, which has created increasingly common misconceptions about the safety of produce. The result of this is fear and confusion among consumers about consumption of safe and healthy fruits and vegetables. The facts and science, however, show consumers should be more confident than ever about produce safety and they substantiate that any residues found on organic or conventional produce are at very minute levels and, according to the USDA, EPA and FDA, “do not pose a food safety concern.”

Decades of nutritional studies prove that people who eat more fruits and vegetables enjoy better health and a longer life — these studies were largely conducted using conventionally grown produce. Recently, a peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Toxicology and Pharmacology showed that if Americans increased daily consumption of fruits and veggies by a single serving, 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented annually.

These nutritional studies clearly show that we should all be supporting public health efforts to promote increased consumption of organic and conventional fruits and veggies. At a time when government is urging increased consumption, our industry will not tolerate sensationalism that erodes consumer confidence in the safety and wholesomeness of produce.

This is why the Alliance for Food and Farming launched in 2010 to provide consumers with science-based information about the safety of organic and conventional fruits and veggies. The site was developed with experts in toxicology, risk analysis, nutrition and farming. The site provides user-friendly, interactive pages where consumers can calculate how much produce they could consume and still not see any health effects from residues (literally hundreds to thousands of servings per day), watch videos featuring farmers, and find nutrition information about the most popular produce items. For those interested in more in-depth information, the website also features peer-reviewed papers and government reports.  Read, learn, choose, but eat more organic and conventional produce for better health and a longer life.

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