According to the CDC, only one in ten Americans consume the recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables. This hasn’t changed much in recent years, with the number of eating occasions for vegetables remaining flat for at least the past 16 years. That number drops off even more for people who are living in or near poverty.
The produce industry always dreads the release of the Environmental Working Group’s annual Dirty Dozen, as part of its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
The safety and nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables is verified by decades of science. Toxicology studies and analyses confirm the safety while nutrition research shows the numerous health benefits of eating a produce-rich diet.
Celery and tomatoes were replaced by green beans and blueberries at No. 11 and 12 on the 2023 list produced by the Environmental Working Group.
Peer reviewed research published in the Journal of Toxicology found that the recommendation in the “Dirty Dozen” list to substitute organic forms of produce for conventional do not result in any decrease in risk for consumers because residues on conventionally grown are so low, if present at all.
The Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) decided to take a look at the associated costs of using these lists. We referenced pricing from a major grocery store chain to compare costs on nine produce items on the “dirty dozen” list that were in season.
What effect have lists like the Dirty Dozen had on produce consumption?
Teresa Thorne, executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) says that the Dirty Dozen is pernicious.
American consumers' produce consumption levels play a part in the pesticide residue debate.
The Environmental Working Group and similar groups base their arguments on the premise that EPA standards aren’t adequate to ensure safe levels of public pesticide consumption.