Science-based information and the clear food safety statements resulted in a significant decrease in media coverage of the 2013 release of the Environmental Working Group’s “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides” and the “Dirty Dozen” list, according to the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF).

“Since the implementation of the Alliance’s Safe Fruits and Veggies campaign in 2010, we have seen media coverage of the annual “Dirty Dozen” list steadily decline,” says Matt McInerney, Executive Vice President of Western Growers Association and AFF Board Chair.  “But, in 2013 it declined to almost negligible levels, which is remarkable since this guide generated broad, national coverage annually over the last several years.”  McInerney adds that the Safe Fruits and Veggies Campaign was developed to provide science-based, balanced information regarding pesticide residues for the media and consumers.  “Our goal is to have facts, not fear, guide consumers’ shopping choices,” McInerney says. 

“It is very encouraging to see science prevail,” adds Bryan Silbermann, President and CEO of the Produce Marketing Association and AFF Vice-Chair.  “The basis for the Alliance’s campaign was to develop a library of scientific studies and analyses and present this information in a consumer friendly, easy to use format.  The cornerstone of this effort is the website,” Silbermann says.  “Our hope is that this information guides consumers to understand that they can choose both organic and conventional produce with confidence and that eating more is always the right choice.”


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The campaign resulted from the AFF Board of Directors who determined that the unfair, misleading disparagement of healthy fruits and vegetables by groups like the EWG should be aggressively challenged and countered.  Through the Board’s directive, the Alliance worked with experts in the areas of toxicology, nutrition, risk analysis and farming to develop the content found on

“As the scientific library was built and expanded, it became easier and easier to counter the misleading statements by groups like the EWG,” explains AFF Executive Director Marilyn Dolan.  “And, while our job got simpler, the science we presented made EWG’s position much harder to justify.  In fact, through the campaign efforts, EWG now publicly states that conventional grown produce is safe to eat.”