Monday, February 25, 2013 by Lee Mannering
Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its 2011 Pesticide Data Program report, highlighting “[…] U.S. food does not pose a safety concern based upon pesticide residues.” In a statement to members, PMA President Bryan Silbermann noted that “this report reaffirms what we’ve known all along – produce remains the safe choice for consumers. Both the data and the comments from the agencies involved demonstrate that making ‘half your plate’ fruits and vegetables promotes strong, healthy families.”
Also, as it did last year, USDA issued a “What Consumers Should Know” backgrounder to help the public understand the context of the report.
In addition to the USDA consumer backgrounder, the fruit and vegetable industry can use various science-based tools developed by the Alliance for Food and Farming to rebut misleading pesticide residue statements about our industry’s wholesome products.
For example, a 2011 report from the Alliance found that application of older, broad-based pesticides in California has declined 66 percent over the past 12 years. A separate review (conducted by a panel of five scientists in toxicology, risk assessment, and nutrition) of the science behind so-called “dirty” produce lists concluded there is no scientific evidence that the amount of pesticide residues found on fruits and vegetables present any health risks.
The Alliance website also has videos of farmers talking about pest and disease control methods on both conventional and organic produce farms. In these interviews, farmers explain how pesticide use has changed over the past several years and describe the strict government regulations that must be followed whenever pesticides are applied on conventional or organic acreage.
PMA is a long-time supporter of the Alliance and its work. For more details, visit the Safe Fruits and Veggies website. Tell us what you think about this effort in the Increasing Consumption Community on PMA Xchange.