A report called “Perspective on Pesticide Residues in Fruits and Vegetables” recently was released by the nonprofit group Alliance for Food and Farming. The goal of the report is to provide consumers with information about the safety of the produce they eat, providing toxicological analysis of pesticide resides on fruits and vegetables.
USDA’s pesticide data program was used to develop the toxicological report, and the data was analyzed by toxicologist Dr. Robert Krieger, head of the Personal Chemical Exposure Program at the University of California, Riverside.
The report targets the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen list and asks, “What is the extent of human exposure resulting from consumption of fruits and vegetables that contain trace pesticide residues relative to no observed adverse effect levels (NOAELs) of exposure established in well-designed, safety evaluation studies?”
In the report, Dr. Krieger states, “Safety evaluation studies are guided by the fundamental tenet of toxicology that there is dose level for any chemical that will not produce a response.” He concludes, “The pesticide exposures that result from consumption of hundreds to thousands of servings of produce with the very highest residues measured represent ‘no effect levels’ of exposure.”
“Of course we know a child couldn’t consume 154 servings of apples in a day, but by providing more science and perspective on the safety of produce, we are hoping to give consumers more information to help them when making purchasing decisions in the produce aisle,” said Marilyn Dolan, Executive Director of the Alliance for Food and Farming. “And, we are also hoping to halt the trend recently reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control about the continuing decline in consumption of fruits and vegetables in America by reassuring consumers about the safety of both organic and conventionally grown fresh produce.”
A full copy of Dr. Krieger’s report can be viewed and downloaded at www.safefruitsandveggies.com under the heading “Should I Be Worried About Pesticide Residues?” A report further examining this concept is currently being reviewed for consideration for publication in a scientific journal.
“There is vast and overwhelming scientific evidence which shows the health benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables,” said Dr. Carl Keen, professor of nutrition and internal medicine at University of California, Davis and a member of the expert panel. “Just about everyone agrees that consumers should be eating more fruits and vegetables for good health. Even some of the groups who publish these so-called “dirty” lists tell consumers that the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh any small risks from pesticide residues. So please enjoy the abundance of choices and eat more fruits and vegetables.”
The interactive calculator tool found at www.safefruitsandveggies.com/calculator automatically converts to mobile devices for consumers who wish to use the calculator while on the go.