Another Sign of Success

Another Sign of Success

7/2/2013 12:13 PM

Today, the Environmental Working Group took another swing at the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) and mischaracterized who we are and who we represent in their online blog.  However, EWG’s attempt to impugn the reputation of the Alliance isn’t of interest here – it is the reason for the renewed attack.

In 2010, the AFF launched its website with a goal of providing factual, science based information about the safety of organic and conventional fruits and veggies to consumers as well as to ensure that fear does not become a barrier to consumption of these healthy foods.  As part of this effort, we have presented information that clearly showed that EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list is not based upon sound science, it is not risk based, and EWG manipulates and exaggerates government data.  Also of significance is that, through the presentation of the facts and credible science, we actually got EWG to agree with us.  Recently they stated that “EWG believes both conventional and organic produce is safe to eat.” 

And, science has prevailed.  Since the AFF launched the website in 2010, there has been a steady decline in attention to the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list.  While the list release previously enjoyed widespread national broadcast and print coverage, in 2013 that coverage was significantly reduced to only a few national stories and no national broadcast coverage at all. 

Recently, the AFF spoke at the Fresh Produce and Floral Council luncheon about the success of the initiative to provide moms and consumers everywhere the truth about the safety of the foods they serve to their families.  This presentation garnered media attention and it is obvious it struck a nerve with EWG .  So, they again resorted to attacking the messenger, but not the message.  We actually understand this approach since EWG can’t dispute (and never has)  the science and information we present to consumers about the safety of conventional and organic fruits and veggies.  Among some examples of the science presented on the website:

1)      USDA’s Pesticide Data Program Report – EWG manipulates the data from this report to develop  their “Dirty Dozen” list.  But, the AFF urges consumers to just read the actual report itself.  In the report, USDA and EPA clearly state that pesticide residues are not a food safety concern.

2)      Pesticides in Perspectives – Developed by a toxicologist with the University of California, this report shows that consumers could literally eat hundreds to thousands of servings of a fruit or veggie a day and still not see any negative health effects from pesticide residues.

3)      Cancer Risk Benefits with Increased Produce Consumption – A peer reviewed paper which states that if one-half of Americans increased their consumption of a fruit and vegetable by a single serving, 20,000 cases of cancer could be prevented per year.

4)      Journal of Toxicology Article – This peer reviewed paper analyzed the “Dirty Dozen” list and found that EWG did not follow any established scientific procedures and that substitution of organic forms of the 12 commodities for conventional commodities does not result in any appreciable reduction of consumer risks.

5)      Expert Panel Report – A team of five scientists with expertise in the areas of nutrition, toxicology, pharmacology and medicine examined the Dirty Dozen list as well as regulatory systems in place to ensure the safety of the food supply.  The panel concluded that this list is misleading to consumers and should not be used when making shopping decisions.  The panel also concluded that the government’s process for evaluating the potential risks of pesticides on food is rigorous and health protective.

6)      Pesticide Usage Trend Report – This analysis examined pesticide use in California and found that farmers are transitioning to softer chemistries with 2 of the top 3 pesticides used in the state being approved for both organic and conventional farms.

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


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