Also helpful was the strength of the content in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program Report, which EWG re-interprets to create its “Dirty Dozen” list. “Both USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency clearly stated that residues do not pose a food safety risk,” says Ray Gilmer, Vice President of Issues Management and Communications for United Fresh Produce Association and a member of the AFF Board.  “The government report also included consumer sections which focused on the rigorous standards in place to protect the food supply.  The AFF began asking media and consumers to just read the government report instead of a re-interpretation by EWG and that seemed to really resonate.”

While the Alliance campaign has achieved a key goal with the significant decline in media attention of the “Dirty Dozen” list, there is still much work left to do.  “We have more studies and new website sections coming soon,” McInerney says.  “And, unfortunately, groups like EWG continue to unfairly disparage our farmers’ products which can have a negative impact on consumer choice and consumption.”

For farmers of fruits and veggies, this campaign’s success has been a refreshing change.  “As a farmer of both conventional and organic blueberries, I am very thankful the Alliance for Food and Farming has taken a position to counter damaging claims by certain groups that disparage our healthy and safe fruits and vegetables,” said Jon Marthedal, a third generation farmer from Fresno. “It is high time that people heard our side of the story and I am very pleased with the results of the Safe Fruits and Veggies campaign.”

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