A "Half Dozen" Questions for EWG

2/25/2015 9:52 AM

As they have for the last 20 years, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its “dirty dozen” list today which inaccurately disparages many of the most popular fruits and vegetables.  To correct and counter the misinformation promoted by EWG, the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) provides science-based information to consumers which clearly show the safety of these popular fruits and veggies and the nutritional benefits of eating more – conventional and organic.

The AFF also repeatedly addresses the lack of science and conflicting information inherent in EWG’s “dirty dozen” list, which are numerous and concerning.  So, today, the AFF brings a few of these to the forefront again with a partial list or a “half dozen”questions for EWG. 

  1. Are conventionally grown fruits and veggies “best” foods for consumers or are they “dirty,” “contaminated,” “toxic laden?” Today, your organization used these disparaging terms about conventionally grown produce when you released your “dirty dozen” list. But last fall, you referred to these same produce items as “best foods” for consumers and advised Americans to increase their daily consumption for better health. So are these items “dirty” or “best foods?”
  2. Why no links to government residue sampling data reports? Your organization repeatedly and continually states that you use the USDA Pesticide Data Program report findings to develop your “list” but you do not directly link to it in your press releases, on your website or promotional materials.  Why? Is it because the report clearly states that “residues do not pose a food safety concern” which is in direct contrast to your claims?
  3. Why doesn’t your organization consider “risk” when developing your list? Risk assessment is an inherent part of evaluating safety so how can you develop a “shopping guide” for consumers without assessing risk?
  4. How is 10+ years old residue sampling data useful to consumers today? Your organization readily admits to including decades old sampling data in current “dirty dozen” list calculations. Why?
  5. Your organization criticizes government systems in place concerning conventional pesticides, but not similar systems governing organic pesticides. So you must agree that the standards governing the approval and use of organic pesticides is rigorous and health protective, correct? 
  6. Why won’t your organization answer any of these questions?  We often hear that your organization will not answer these and/or similar questions nor will EWG staffers return calls/answer emails from sources that ask tough questions.  Why?

It should be noted that AFF has also sent these questions directly to EWG staffers on numerous occasions. Their lack of response/answers is concerning not only from the consumers’ perspective, but from the farmers’ perspective as well. 

For consumers, they deserve science-based, credible information about produce safety.  Therefore transparency and openness regarding methodology and content from EWG should be expected and readily provided so consumers can assess the usefulness and validity of their information.

For farmers, EWG is unfairly disparaging the products that they work hard every day to provide for consumers.  These are the same fruits and veggies these farmers feed to their own families and that experts everywhere agree are very safe and extremely nutritious.  So, if you are going to call someone’s product “dirty” and “toxic” you should be ready and willing to answer questions and be accountable.

Anything less should open the door to even more questions.    

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