Consumers' Union

Consumers' Union "Shopper's Guide" Raises Concern for Pesticide Sensationalism

NEWARK, DE - A produce-related “shopper’s guide” report is to be released in Consumers Union this morning declaring certain produce items, previously found to be safe for consumers, “high risk.”

According to the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF), reports promoting pesticide sensationalism and the dangers of residue on in-store products threatens the integrity of the produce industry at a time when fruit and vegetable consumption is already below recommended levels.

“Despite the best efforts of the government, health experts, and nutritionists, consumption of fruits and veggies has stagnated,” Marilyn Dolan, Executive Director of the AFF, said in a press release. “Telling consumers one moment that certain produce items are ‘high risk’ and the very next advising them to ‘eat more’ is confusing and cannot be helpful with efforts to increase consumption for improved health.”

While the AFF is currently gathering factual data and alternative resources to provide consumers and interested parties with a balanced conversation regarding pesticides and the safety of produce, misinformation still scares away a number of consumers.

“Because PMA is committed to providing and supporting factual information to help you translate the hot topics facing your business, the contributions you make through your dues support the Alliance for Food and Farming’s efforts,” PMA CEO Bryan Silbermann said in a press release. “Our funding helps the industry counter misinformation about pesticide residues on fresh produce with science - the same foundation we use to continuously improve food safety.”

Consumers Union does state the key fact that the consumption of any fruits and vegetables, be it conventional, organic, or locally grown, is healthy for everyone.

This does not, however, always make it through the fear usually associated with pesticides. That is why the PMA calls for a collective voice from the industry, encouraging communication providing balance to the conversation for customers.

For ways to do this, see PMA’s recommended list below:

  • Facts about safety of organic and conventional produce, backed by expertise in toxicology, pharmacology, risk assessment, and nutrition here.

  • Pesticide Residue Calculator

  • University College of London peer review study finding people who consume 7 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day reduce risk of premature death by 42 percent.

According to Scott Farrell, President of Global Corporate Communications, transparency is the best policy to ease the minds of consumers. Use the resources above to make the facts of food and product safety known to your consumers.



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