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.
According to the FDA’s 2019 report for its Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program, released in November 2021, “98.7 percent of domestic and 89.1 percent of import foods were compliant with federal standards. No pesticide chemical residues were found in 42.4 percent of the domestic and 49.4 percent of the import samples.”
Behind the Dirty Dozen pesticide residue discussion is a much larger issue of risk- versus hazard-based assessments of food safety.
The “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” which, according to the the EWG website, “ranks the pesticide contamination of 46 popular fruits and vegetables,” has frustrated the produce industry for decades.
As I also say in the article, I think a much graver and more difficult concern faces the fresh fruit and vegetable industry. In fact, pesticide residues in food don’t even make the list of current top environmental concerns among the public.
The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen shoppers guides to avoiding pesticide residue used to be a huge splash in the mainstream media world.
It’s time for our annual “A Dozen Reasons” list to remind everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables and that produce is a food group health experts universally recommend we eat more of every day.