“For the first time ever, the produce industry is challenging media to consider the facts on this issue and, as a result, we have seen a marked decline in coverage of the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list in traditional media channels,” said Dolan.  “We have also seen the EWG change their messaging in response to our challenges.  In fact, the EWG has admitted publicly its “Dirty Dozen” list is not based on risk and that both conventional and organically-grown produce is safe to eat.  They have even recently released a report called Good Food on a Tight Budget which goes so far as to recommend people eat more of the produce items that regularly appear on their own ‘dirty list.’”

The Alliance for Food and Farming, based in Watsonville, Calif., is a non-profit organization with funding from farmers and groups representing farms of all sizes, both conventional and organic.  The program is implemented by Teresa Thorne, Marilyn Dolan and Rosi Gong and is overseen by a voluntary Management Board which includes leaders from throughout the produce industry.

Ideal candidates to serve as “Dirty Dozen” champions include farmers or employees of produce marketing firms, commodity groups or associations who are already engaging in social media or outreaching to reporters or health professionals on the issue of health and safety of fruits and vegetables.  The Alliance will assist champions in learning how to incorporate credible information about pesticide residues into their existing communications strategies.  Anyone in the produce industry interested in becoming a champion for fruits and vegetables on the “Dirty Dozen” list should contact the Alliance for Food and Farming by calling (831) 786-1666 or via e-mail at info@foodandfarming.info.