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Alliance for Food and Farming: Newly Released Reports Show Organic and Conventional Produce is Safe, "Dirty Dozen" List Unsupportable
[April 10, 2018]

Alliance for Food and Farming: Newly Released Reports Show Organic and Conventional Produce is Safe, "Dirty Dozen" List Unsupportable


According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sampling data, 99% of residues on fruits and vegetables, when present at all, are well below safety levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency. FDA sampling shows that 50% of the foods sampled had no detectable residues at all.

"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," says Teresa Thorne, Executive Director of the Alliance for Food and Farming. Thorne says peer reviewed research published in Nutrition Today shows that inaccurate statements regarding "high" residues associated with the annual "dirty dozen" release resulted in low income consumers stating they would be less likely to purchase any produce - organic or conventionally grown.

"For over two decades the authors of this list have inaccurately disparaged healthy and safe fruits and veggies to the detriment of consumers," Thorne says. "Since a farmer's first consumer is his or her own family, providing safe and wholesome food is always their priority. Consumers should be reassured by the farmers' commitment to food safety and government reports that verify that safety year after year."

Among the additional USDA/FDA findings:

  • Pesticide residues pose no risk of concern for infants and children.
  • The results provide consumers confidence that the products they buy for their families are safe and wholesome.

Further, a peer reviewed study found that EWG's suggested substitution of organic forms of produce for conventional forms did not result in any decrease in risk because residues on conventional produce are so minute, if present at all. The same study states that EWG did not follow any established scientific procedures in developing their list.



There are decades of peer-reviewed nutrition studies which show the benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies on health, Thorne explains. These studies were largely conducted using conventionally grown produce. Thorne adds that health experts universally agree that a plant rich diet is important for everyone, but especially for children, pregnant women or those wishing to become pregnant.

"What I tell women routinely is all the data suggests you want to increase your intake (of fruits and vegetables) during pregnancy and for that matter before you even become pregnant to help optimize your chance of having a healthy child," says Dr. Carl Keen, Professor of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis whose research focuses on the influence of the maternal diet on the risk for pregnancy complications.


For those struggling with infertility, a 2018 study in human reproduction found females under 35 undergoing in vitro fertilization had a 65% to 68% increased chance of success with a stronger adherence to the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes eating lots of fruits and veggies each day.

Further illustrating how low pesticide residues are, if present at all, an analysis by a toxicologist with the University of California's Personal Chemical Exposure Program found that a child could literally eat hundreds to thousands of servings of a fruit or vegetable in a day and still not have any effects from pesticide residues. "For strawberries, a child could eat 181 servings or 1,448 strawberries in a day and still not have any effects from pesticide residues," Thorne says.

For consumers who may still have concerns, they should simply wash their fruits and vegetables. According to the FDA, you can reduce and often eliminate residues, if they are present at all, on fresh fruits and vegetables simply by washing.

To learn more about the safety of all fruits and vegetables visit safefruitsandveggies.com

The Alliance for Food and Farming is a non-profit organization formed in 1989 which represents organic and conventional farmers and farms of all sizes. Alliance contributors are limited to farmers of fruits and vegetables, companies that sell, market or ship fruits and vegetables or organizations that represent produce farmers. Our mission is to deliver credible information about the safety of fruits and vegetables. The Alliance does not engage in any lobbying activities, nor do we accept any money or support from the pesticide industry.

A gift from the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) to the Illinois Institute of Technology, Center for Nutrition Research helped fund the research published in the peer review journal, Nutrition Today. However, the AFF was uninvolved in any facet of the study nor were we made aware of the study findings until after the paper was peer reviewed and accepted by the journal.


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