EWG Goes Too Far, But Fortunately Their Efforts Fall Short

4/25/2014 12:37 PM

Yesterday, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a statement making inaccurate and distorted claims about pesticide residues on apples.  Since this commodity has been erroneously targeted previously by activist groups with serious consequences on hard-working family farmers, this would seem to be a low blow, even for EWG.  But, fortunately, coverage of EWG’s statement and claims in mainstream media was minimal and even coverage in the blogger community was inconsequential overall. 

So why did EWG employ this tactic?  EWG stated they plan to release their so-called “dirty dozen” list next week and yesterday’s efforts are likely an attempt to try and reinvigorate waning media interest in its list. But, instead of launching another unwarranted attack on a healthy and popular fruit, maybe EWG should examine why that interest is waning.

EWG’s list is widely acknowledged as unscientific and lacking in credibility.  Furthermore, the government reports that EWG itself says it uses to develop its so-called list strongly state that “residues do not pose a food safety concern.”  So, anyone who reads even just the government’s press release will quickly realize that EWG claims are completely counter to actual residue sampling data findings.

Another key reason interest is waning is because of what EWG is unfairly attacking. There is no other food group more nutritious and healthy than fruits and vegetables.  There is no other food group where there is uniform and widespread agreement among health experts that consumption needs to be substantially increased.  There is no other food group where decades of studies show such staggering health benefits when consumption is increased even slightly- these studies were largely conducted using conventionally grown produce.  And, there are very few industries that can show 99% compliance rate with EPA established safety standards.

Another reason for waning interest is that EWG is unable to answer even general questions about their list (see some of those questions here).  EWG regularly ignores the questions they can’t answer or reverts to their long-employed tactic of using scary language and sound bites to divert attention.

And, finally, about that scary language – you can’t use increasingly inflammatory and inaccurate terminology like produce is “laden,” “doused,” “slathered” “dirty” and “drenched” with pesticides and have your information be taken seriously. 

Based upon yesterday’s efforts, the media, farmers and consumers can expect more of the same fear-based rhetoric from EWG next week.  But, there are numerous reasons why EWG should also expect less people to pay attention.

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




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