Aug 17, 2011
U.C. Davis study refutes EWG’s “Dirty Dozen”list

A recent study by the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California (UC) Davis challenges conclusions published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), creators of the “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables to avoid. The EWG named apples at the top of this year’s “Dirty Dozen List” due to the presence of pesticide residues approved by EPA.

“The methodology used to create the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list does not appear to follow any established scientific procedures,” the study said, an argument other researchers have echoed on the Safe Fruits and Veggies website.

The UC Davis study was published in The Journal of Toxicology (Volume 2011), a peer-reviewed journal specializing in original research articles in areas of toxicology.

“Our analysis finds that exposure to the ten most frequently detected pesticides on apples is well below levels of toxicological concern, with relative exposures between 20,000 and 28 million times lower than levels that do not harm laboratory animals,” said Carl Winter, director of the University’s FoodSafe Program, and one of the primary authors of the study.

Further, the UC Davis study casts doubt on the credibility of the entire “Dirty Dozen” list.
“The EWG methodology also does not appear to be capable of justifying the claim that ‘consumers can lower their pesticide consumption by nearly four fifths by avoiding conventionally-grown varieties of the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables’ since no effort to quantify consumer exposure was made,” the study said.

The authors concluded their findings by suggesting that the EWG methodology is not sufficient to allow meaningful ranking among commodities or that substituting organic forms of the commodities on the “Dirty Dozen” list will lead to measurable consumer health benefit.

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