Apr 10, 2018
USApple: EWG’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ list is ‘inaccurate, harmful’

The U.S. Apple Association (USApple) is calling the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list both “inaccurate” and “harmful” to Americans. The report, issued annually, offers consumers an “extremely biased view “of various fruits and vegetables to avoid based on “misleading and flawed” reporting by the activist group.

“Any report telling people not to eat fresh produce is beyond silly and potentially very harmful advice,” said USApple President and CEO Jim Bair. “We can all agree that consuming more fruits and vegetables is one of the best things we can do for our health.”

According to USApple, when making dietary choices, consumers should follow the advice of the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Dietary Guidelines for Americans, who all say eat more fruits and vegetables.

“USApple’s consumer education efforts focus on science-based reasons to eat more wholesome foods like apples – not less,” said Bair. “The Surgeon General and leading health organizations agree there is far greater health risk from not eating fruits and vegetables than from any theoretical risk that might be posed by consuming trace amounts of pesticide residues. In fact, to exceed the Environmental Protection Agency tolerances, a child would have to eat 154 apples every day.”

According to the CDC, only one in 10 adults get enough fruit and vegetables, putting them at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Further, a study in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology found that if half of Americans increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables by a single serving each day, 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented annually.

The Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list misleads consumers and is based on inaccurate reporting:

EWG’s source for its list – the USDA – finds no safety concerns. The U.S. Department of Agriculture report that is the basis for EWG’s latest “Dirty Dozen” notes, “One-hundred percent of the apples sampled through PDP had residues below the EPA tolerances.” The residues are so low, in fact, that an independent toxicological report from Dr. Robert Krieger of the Personal Chemical Exposure Program, University of California, Riverside, found that a small child could eat 154 servings of apples every day without any impact from any residues that might be present.

EWG’s misleading information affects the health of low income families. Peer-reviewed research published in Nutrition Today shows messaging tactics that invoke safety concerns about non-organic produce may have a negative impact on consumption of fruits and veggies among low income consumers. 

EWG’s report is not peer reviewed. Unlike other health reports submitted to media, EWG’s list is not peer reviewed by an independent body of scientists, academia or other review boards. We encourage media to instead review these four peer-reviewed studies: Journal of Toxicology, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, British Journal of Cancer and Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology.

The U.S. Apple Association (USApple) is the national trade association representing all segments of the apple industry. Members include 40 state and regional associations representing the 7,500 apple growers throughout the country, as well as more than 400 individual firms involved in the apple business. More information on the organization is available at www.USApple.org.


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