What's It Going To Take?

7/21/2015 11:05 AM

"Consumers should be encouraged to eat fruits, vegetables and grains and should not fear the low levels of pesticide residues found in such foods."  July 2015, International Journal of Food Consumption

“Only about one in every 10 Americans eats enough fruits and vegetables.”  July 2015, Centers for Disease Control.

Consuming 7 or more servings of produce a day reduces the risk of premature death by 42%, cancer by 25% and heart disease by 31%.” March 2014, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“If half of Americans increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables by a single serving each day, over 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented annually.” September 2012, Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology.

“Given the potential implications of competing messages about healthy eating, it is important that those who want to improve food production techniques and those who want to improve nutrition cooperate to create consistent messaging about healthy eating.” December 2014, Journal of Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment.

As these studies and analysis illustrate, organic and conventional fruits and vegetables are very safe, Americans aren’t coming close to consuming enough each day, the health benefits of increased consumption are significant, and those who are concerned about healthy eating should be consistent in consumer messaging to help promote increased consumption to benefit public health. 

And, these are only a few examples from decades of peer-reviewed research that show the health and safety of fruits and vegetables.  (It should be noted that these studies were largely conducted using conventionally grown produce.)

Yet, activist groups like the Environmental Working Group, Consumers’ Union, Pesticide Action Network and others continue to inaccurately inflame and perpetuate consumer fears about produce safety.  These groups insist on calling the more accessible and affordable fruits and veggies “toxic,” “dirty” and “high risk.”  And, when the Alliance for Food and Farming disseminates peer-reviewed science, government reports and academic analyses to the media and consumers which affirm the health and safety of organic and conventionally grown produce, we are actually accused of practicing “covert communications” and making “spurious implications” by Friends of the Earth. 

So what motivates these groups to continue promoting contradictory and fear-based messaging to consumers as they have done for over 20 years now? And, what’s it going to take for them to stop disparaging the fruits and veggies that are more accessible and affordable for most consumers and health experts everywhere agree we should eat more of each day?   Isn’t it time for these groups to move from messages that discourages consumption to one that encourages consumption? 

The science and the low consumption levels certainly support a strategy change by activist groups.  And it’s easy – it goes like this:  “Eat more organic and conventional fruits and veggies every day for better health and a longer life.” 

If these groups continue to perpetuate misinformation about produce safety to the potential detriment of public health then they need to disclose why because consumers, and fruit and vegetable farmers, deserve to know their motivation. 

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

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