Monday, November 8, 2010

The Pesticides in Our Food


The Environmental Working Group's 2010 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides is a great resource to consumers.

EWG puts out this information along with some level headed advice from their president, Ken Cook.
We recommend that people eat healthy by eating more fruits and vegtables, whether conventional or organic. But people don't want to eat pestisides with their produce if they don't have to. And with EWG's guide, they don't have to.
However, a big agriculture lobbying group is trying to debunk it. The Alliance for Food and Farming's main argument: is that the "Promotion of the 'Dirty Dozen' list actually makes the work of improving the diets of Americans more difficult because it scares consumers away from the affordable fruits and vegetables that they enjoy."

To understand why the AFF is against information from EWG, it is necessary to understand who's behind the AFF.
According to SourceWatch, its board of directors includes honchos from the California Strawberry Commission, the California Tomato Farmers, the Produce Marketing Association, and the California Association of Pest Control Advisors, among other industry groups.
According to The Atlantic, the alliance is little more than a PR front.
[It's] directors include executives from corporate agricultural interests such as Sunkist, Western Growers, California Strawberry Commission, California Tomato Farmers, and the California Association of Pest Control Advisors. The alliance requested the federal dollars through the California Department of Food and Agriculture to "correct the misconception that some fresh produce items contain excessive amounts of pesticide residues," according to the alliance's grant application (PDF).
What is the nature of the EWG's "misconceptions"? Here's how the EWG introduces its guide:
Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use EWG's "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides" to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.
This is another example of when Big Ag attacks, the government folds. USDA just gave the lobbyists $180,000 to aid their smear campaign.

The White House garden may be green and unsullied by agricultural chemicals, but Obama's United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) isn't.

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