EWG Ranks Organic and Conventional Produce as “Best” Foods

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Marilyn Dolan or Teresa Thorne

(831) 786-1666

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a new food database yesterday and rated both conventional and organic produce as “best” foods for consumers.  As part of the new report called Food Scores:  Rate Your Plate over 80,000 foods were rated by EWG on a scale of 1 to 10  (a score of 1 being the best).  Throughout the searchable database, EWG gave organic and conventional fruits and vegetables “1 to 1.5” (best) scores accompanied by a strong recommendation to increase daily consumption. 

In its press release, EWG describes “best” foods as receiving a score of 1.0 to 3.5 and states that only about 18% of the 80,000 foods received this “best” ranking.  The ratings are based on nutrition, food additives, contaminants and degree of processing, according to EWG.

“In light of this new “best” ranking for organic and conventional produce and EWG’s new and very strong statement regarding the need for increased consumption, we are hopeful this means they will  discontinue their annual release of the so-called ‘dirty dozen’ list,” says Marilyn Dolan, Executive Director of the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF).  “This ‘best’ ranking is a very positive step by EWG and we look forward to them continuing this trend by dropping their list which only confuses consumers about produce safety.”

Dolan also praised EWG’s new statement promoting increased consumption of organic and conventional produce.  EWG website now states:  “Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables--especially dark green, red and orange varieties, as well as beans and peas--is an essential part of a healthy diet. Fruit and vegetable intake is associated with reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and some types of cancers (USDA and DHHS 2010). Fruits and vegetables are also key sources of potassium and dietary fiber--nutrients that many Americans do not get enough of. Perhaps that's because on average, Americans eat only 42% and 59% of the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables, respectively (USDA and DHHS 2010), making them one of the few foods we should all eat more of.”

“We are pleased that EWG is adopting the same message carried by the AFF and health experts everywhere,” Dolan says.  “This is an important health message for consumers and groups like EWG can be very helpful in communicating about the need for increased fruit and vegetable consumption.” 

Dolan says on behalf of the organic and conventional fruit and vegetable farmers the AFF represents, the organization would like to thank EWG for its “best” ranking.  “Our farmers appreciate EWG acknowledging the health and safety of the fruits and veggies they provide to consumers every day.   And, the AFF will happily promote this “best” ranking by EWG to consumers as part of our efforts to increase produce consumption,” Dolan says.  

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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 to consumers 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.