Despite New Hire, Nothing Will Change At Dr. Oz Show

6/17/2015 12:39 PM

When the Alliance for Food and Farming first learned that the Dr. Oz Show had hired an M.D. to review and oversee medical and scientific content, we breathed a sigh of relief.  Maybe all the recent negative scrutiny about this show’s content by Congressional Committees and the medical community resulted in positive changes and a more responsible approach.  We thought that finally Dr. Oz will cease airing over-the-top segments which show safe and affordable fruits and veggies with HazMat labels in front of them.  No longer will Dr. Oz unfairly call these more accessible produce items “toxic” and urge consumers to only buy organic versions.  After all, health experts everywhere agree that we should all be eating more fruits and veggies – organic and conventional – for better health and a longer life.

Well, our initial optimism was muted when we learned more.  You see Dr. Oz’s new M.D., Dr. Michael Crupain, comes from an activist group - the Consumers’ Union where he served as director of their Food Safety and Sustainability Center.  Yes, the very same group that publishes Consumer Reports and brought us a brand new “Produce Shoppers Guide” this spring that inaccurately characterized healthy and safe produce items as “high risk." 

As the following Consumer Report excerpt illustrates, it is clear that Dr. Oz Show viewers will continue to be told that the more accessible and affordable fruits and veggies are “unsafe.”

“We’re exposed to a cocktail of chemicals from our food on a daily basis,” says Michael Crupain, M.D., M.P.H., director of Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center.  “It’s not realistic to expect we wouldn’t have any pesticides in our bodies in this day and age, but that would be the ideal,” says Crupain. “We just don’t know enough about the health effects.”

Actually Dr. Crupain, there are decades of nutritional research that show a diet rich in fruits and veggies leads to a decreased risk of premature death, cancer, heart disease and stroke among numerous other health benefits.  This robust body of research was largely conducted using conventionally grown produce.  And, an analysis of government sampling data shows that residues are so minute, if present at all, you could literally eat hundreds to thousands of servings of a fruit or veggie in a day and still not have effects from residues.

For the organic and conventional fruit and vegetable farmers we proudly represent, please know that each and every time the Dr. Oz Show does a segment that mischaracterizes the safety of our products, the AFF reaches out to his producers and public affairs staff.  Our ask is quite simple – since Dr. Oz’s statements about consumption of conventionally grown produce is quite different in legitimate medical settings (his message in those circles mirrors health experts advice to eat more of both conventional and organic produce) we ask for a statement confirming his position on the safety of eating all produce.  We also provide Dr. Oz’s staff with science-based information and studies about the safety of fruits and vegetables. 

While our relief turned to disappointment after learning more about Dr. Oz’s new hire, we know the produce industry has made great strides in recent years toward our goal of providing science-based information so that facts, not fear, can guide consumers’ shopping choices.  But the work obviously must continue. 

Read, learn, choose but eat more organic and conventional produce for better health and a longer life.


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