The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an organization known for its critical positions of the produce industry, released a new food database yesterday that places organic and conventional produce at the top of its scale that promotes increased daily consumption. Rating over 80,000 foods on a scale of 1 to 10 -- with 1 being the best score -- organic and conventional fruits and vegetables received scores of 1 to 1.5, ranking them as one of the “best” foods for consumers. According to their own press release, only about 18% of the 80,000 foods being evaluated received the “best” ranking.
In response to the information released by EWG, the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) issued a press release praising EWG’s new and very strong statement recommending increased consumption of organic and conventional fruits and vegetables. Calling it a positive step in the right direction, the AFF hoped that the release of this new information would mean that the EWG would discontinue issuing its annual release of the so-called ‘dirty dozen’ list which confuses consumers about produce safety.
Matt McInerney, chairman of the board for the AFF, expanded on the Alliance’s release saying “It’s actually gratifying to see EWG, an organization that has confused consumers about produce safety, acknowledge the importance of including more fruits and vegetables in our diets. That recommendation, coupled with the “best” rating given to both organic and conventional produce, should forever place in doubt that organizations previous assertions calling into question the healthiness of fresh-grown produce.”
EWG website now states: “Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables--especially dark green, red and orange varieties, as well as beans and peas--is an essential part of a healthy diet. Fruit and vegetable intake is associated with reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and some types of cancers (USDA and DHHS 2010). Fruits and vegetables are also key sources of potassium and dietary fiber--nutrients that many Americans do not get enough of. Perhaps that's because on average, Americans eat only 42% and 59% of the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables, respectively (USDA and DHHS 2010), making them one of the few foods we should all eat more of.”
For more information on the Alliance for Food and Farming, visit their website.
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