Real News From USDA Report Is Good News For Consumers

2/9/2018 12:23 PM

After reviewing the newly released Pesticide Data Program (PDP) report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it is again baffling how groups can take this very positive and reassuring produce safety news and turn it into something negative.  But, it seems a catchy name, data manipulation and a marketing gimmick developed over 23 years ago can usurp the science in some cases.

Interestingly, today’s media environment has coined a new term for this type of approach:  “Fake or False News.”  And the “dirty dozen,” list, which inaccurately portrays popular and safe fruits and veggies “toxic laden” in an attempt to scare consumers, checks all the boxes for this characterization. 

But, first let’s focus on the “real news” from the USDA PDP report.  These USDA report findings not only mirror results found over the last several years, but also complement the sampling data results from the Federal Food and Drug Administration.  According to the USDA:

  • Over 99% of samples tested had residues well below tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • 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.
  • The U.S. food supply is one of the safest in the world.

One can see the real and actual USDA findings stand in stark contrast to claims made by the group that releases the “dirty dozen” list, which is why it easily meets the definition of “fake or false news.”  Not only is this so-called “list” scientifically invalid, but peer reviewed studies show that misleading messaging which inaccurately describes certain fruits and vegetables as having “higher” pesticide residues results in low income shoppers reporting that they would be unlikely to purchase any fruits and vegetables – organic or conventional. 

Instead of listening to groups that are incentivized to promote certain production methods over another, let’s listen to government agencies, registered dietitians, physicians, nutrition scientists and academics who all agree that we should eat more organic and conventional fruits and veggies every day for better health and a longer life.  The science is clear and government sampling data supports that both organic and conventionally grown produce is safe and can be eaten with confidence.  That’s real and good news for consumers.


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