Pesticide Info: What’s the Hold-up?
In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was supposed to release its annual findings for the tests it does on pesticide use in fruits and vegetables. Four months later, those findings have still not been released.
The Environmental Working Group, which publishes its annual EWG Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all of USDA’s recent communications with produce and pesticide industry representatives to shed light on whether the Alliance for Food and Farming taxpayer-funded marketing grant has been improperly used to support the lobbying efforts of AFF members.
According to Sourcewatch, the AFF is a front group for the fruit and vegetable industry, claiming the safety of numerous pesticides. According to its website, the group “was formed in 1989 and currently has a membership of approximately 50 agricultural groups representing a wide range of organizations including commodity boards, major farm groups and individual grower/shippers.” It was registered as a non-profit in 1997 and does not disclose its member organizations. In July 2010, the Alliance for Food and Farming held a webinar and released a paper aiming to “debunk” the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list of the most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables that should be purchased as organic whenever possible.
So if the EWG has been spreading rumors about the toxicity of pesticides, then what’s the hold-up with the findings? Let’s see how “safe” these pesticides are.