Chemical Agriculture Group Says, Shut Up and Eat Your Pesticides

WASHINGTON, DC - Rachel Carson ignited the debate over pesticide safety a generation ago. Its latest phase began today (July 15).

Chemical farming interests have taken aim at Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) influential “Shopper’s Guide To Pesticides In Produce,” a popular consumer tool introduced more than a decade ago that has helped drive expansion of organic produce sales at the expense conventionally grown, pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables.

This attack comes from the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) -- an industry front group representing more than 50 industrial produce growers’ groups and pesticide and fertilizer interests. The AFF claimed in a call today with reporters and on its website that Americans are consuming fewer fruits and vegetables because EWG publishes its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.

“We are delighted and grateful to chemical farming interests for this new effort to heighten consumer awareness about pesticides that routinely contaminate most conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “We feel confident that their campaign will help consumers, and parents especially, understand anew just how easy it is to enjoy and increase consumption of fresh produce while reducing exposure to toxic pesticides.”

“It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the chemical farming coalition members are less concerned about EWG’s “dirty dozen” list, or the health and girth of the American people, than they are about losing so much market share to organic fruits and vegetables,” added Cook.

“If chemical agriculture and the Alliance for Food and Farming want to promote healthier diets, they should stop attacking their critics and focus on growing vegetables and fruits that are chemical-free – and also tasty,” Cook said. “Don’t forget, these are the same geniuses who for decades have brought us tomatoes as hard as baseballs, apples that mush in your mouth and lettuce fit for shredding at fast food joints.”

Americans can’t seem to get enough of the organic industry’s delicious, healthy food. It has emerged as one of the most dynamic sectors in the American food industry. One of the main reasons? People don’t want to eat pesticides with their produce if they don’t have to. And with EWG’s guide, they don’t.

“At EWG, we remember what Big Ag has long since forgotten or forsaken – the foundation stone of American commerce, that the customer is always right,” Cook said. “When customers say they want fresh, appetizing, diverse offerings of fruits and vegetables without a load of pesticides, we say, give it to them.”

“What the Alliance for Food and Farming seems to be saying is, ‘Shut up and eat your pesticides’,” concluded Cook.

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EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.

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