“Dirty Dozen” Makes Its Annual Appearance in an Effort to Scare the Public into Avoiding Safe and Healthy Eating Habits

WASHINGTON, DC – The Environmental Working Group (EWG) once again released its annual “Dirty Dozen” list this week, cautioning consumers against purchasing and consuming a baker’s dozen, that’s 13, different nutritious fruits and vegetables. Each year, EWG releases its list and starts by saying that, “All adults and children should eat more fruits and vegetables, whether they are organic or conventionally grown.” While citing many of the organization’s own resources, they fail to link to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Pesticide Data Program (PDP) report, where EWG has cherry picked information to make its claims. As is expected, EWG uses the PDP data to create statistics that promote fear and avoids addressing the fact that residue in nearly 100 percent of the produce tested were present at levels far below tolerances set by regulatory agencies.

CropLife America (CLA) and many other food-focused organizations remain vehemently opposed to the misinformation spread by EWG’s “findings” and, instead, encourage consumers to reach for fruits and vegetables at the grocery store regardless of how the food was grown.

“It is important that consumers understand that no matter how produce is grown, whether organic or conventional, there are multiple federal regulatory agencies that diligently work to ensure we have a safe and dependable food system,” stated Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “Year after year, reports from the USDA PDP show that more than 99 percent of the products sampled have residues below tolerances set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs. Each year EWG creates confusion and fear around this issue for consumers.”

“We all need to adhere to healthy dietary patterns that include plenty of fruits and vegetables,” according to CLA registered dietitian, Dr. Janet E. Collins, executive vice president of science and regulatory affairs.  “EWG’s recommendations limit consumer choice when reaching for vitamin- and mineral-rich vegetables, such as spinach or antioxidant-rich blueberries, by making claims about the safety of our food supply which are devoid of sound scientific advice. There is no difference in the nutritional quality between conventionally and organically grown produce. So, eat your spinach!” 

CLA actively engages with consumers, food bloggers, farmers, chefs, foodies, journalists and others interested in food production on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information on how farmers use both organic and conventional pesticides to grow healthful and nutritious food, visit www.GiveaCrop.org.

Sarah Macedo