Here we go again. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has issued its 2012 Shopping Guide to Pesticides in Produce — which is the eighth edition to unfairly demonize healthy fruits and vegetables. EWG issues these reports annually using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that actually show the opposite of what the greens claim: pesticide residues are so minute that they pose little to no health risks to U.S. consumers.
In fact, USDA explains its findings in a May 2012 press statement: “Similar to previous years, the 2010 report shows that overall pesticide residues found on foods tested are at levels well below the tolerances set by the EPA. The report does show that residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.25 percent of the samples tested. For baby food –included for the first time in this report – the data showed that no residues were found that exceeded the tolerance levels.”
In other words, this report showed that 99.75 percent of samples tested contained residues well below EPA’s “safe level.” Wow, that’s an impressive success rate! It’s a very strong indicator that U.S. consumers have nothing to fear from trace pesticides on their food.
What about the 0.25 percent that had levels above EPA standards? Consumers need not fear even those. Such slight exceedances have no public health impact because EPA standards are exceedingly stringent so that even a child could be exposed at levels thousands of times higher without ill effect.
However, by discouraging the consumption of healthy foods like apples, celery, and blueberries, EWG may contribute to increased cancer and other health risks!
For more information, see my op-ed that addressed their 2009 guide.