“Unsupportable.” “Inaccurate.” “Harmful.”
Those are the first responses to the Environmental Working Group’s annual of the “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” released April 10.
Also called the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15,” the report is based on analysis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program report. The Environmental Protection Agency and USDA work together to identify foods to be tested on a rotating basis for the report, which can be viewed here.
A spokeswoman for the EWG said the “Shopper’s Guide” gives consumers the information they need so they can “fill their fridges and fruit bowls with plenty of healthy and organic produce that isn’t contaminated with multiple pesticide residues.”
“It is vitally important that everyone eats plenty of produce, but it is also wise to avoid dietary exposure to toxic pesticides,” said Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst for the EWG, in a news release.
Produce advocacy groups, like the U.S. Apple Association call the list “inaccurate” and “harmful” to Americans.
“Any report telling people not to eat fresh produce is beyond silly and potentially harmful advice,” said Jim Bair, president and CEO of the Falls Church, Va.-based association, in a news release. “We can all agree that consuming more fruits and vegetables is one of the best things we can do for our health.
The Alliance for Food and Farming, Watsonville, Calif., calls the list “unsupportable,” pointing to the PDP’s findings that all residues found in the reports are “well below” safety levels set by the EPA, and that a FDA report found 50% of foods had no detectable residues.
“In light of today’s ‘dirty dozen’ list release, both government reports are good news for consumers and show that the ‘list’ author’s contentions about residues and ‘dirty’ produce are unfounded, unsupportable and, in fact, may be harming public health efforts to improve the diets of Americans,” said Teresa Thorne, executive director, in a news release.