Before Using "Shoppers Guides," Get the Facts

4/22/2013 7:05 AM
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Today, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) published it’s “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce.” This “guide” is a re-interpretation of the USDA Pesticide Data Program results and actually takes very positive news from the Obama Administration about food safety and turns it into negative news.

Before promoting, publicizing, using or sharing the “Shoppers Guide” list, we ask that individuals consider the following:

  1. Read the actual USDA PDP report. Among other key findings, USDA and EPA both clearly state that minute amounts of pesticide residues do not pose a food safety concern.
  2. Look at peer reviewed science. Read the Journal of Toxicology paper which examined these “shoppers’ guides,” and found that the methodology used did not follow any established scientific procedures, nor was risk even examined.
  3. Review some of the nutritional studies conducted over decades that continually show the health benefits of consuming more fruits and veggies each day which were largely conducted using conventionally grown produce. One of the more recent studies found that an estimated 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented if half of all Americans simply increased their consumption of fruits and veggies by a single serving.
  4. Read the new “A Dozen Reasons” website section that features quotable quotes and statements from peer reviewed papers which underscore why eating more conventional and organic produce is always the right and healthy choice for your family.
  5. Use the Pesticide Residues Calculator to learn more about how many servings of fruits or veggies you could consume in a day and still not see any adverse health effects from residues.
  6. Just wash your produce. The FDA clearly states that you can reduce and often eliminate any residues that may be present simply by washing under running tap water.

The EWG is a good example of how certain groups unfairly disparage the safety of conventionally grown, more affordable produce by using misleading, manipulated information. The issuance of today’s report will not advance efforts by the health community to raise produce consumption because the language used by EWG was chosen to raise fear which discourages consumer choice.

However, the Alliance for Food and Farming will continue to offer consumers facts and science based information which all strongly support our key recommendation, which is shared by health officials, the government, academia and consumer advocates: Choose either conventional or organic fruits and vegetables with confidence. Both are very safe and the right choice is always to eat more.

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