In a recent survey of RDs, 94 percent agree that inaccurate, fear-based messaging regarding pesticide residues have a negative impact on consumers. That’s because it causes misplaced concern about whether conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables are safe to eat. And 95 percent of RDs agree that it is important for consumers to know that conventionally-grown produce is safe because not all consumers can afford organic produce. The majority of RDs surveyed also felt the Dirty Dozen list promotes fear and discourages the consumption of fruit and vegetables.
Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases their list of the 12 “dirtiest” fruit and vegetables, also known as the Dirty Dozen. In EWG’s announcement of its 2020 list, the headline stated that nearly 70 percent of the fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains residues of potentially harmful chemical pesticides. Messaging and marketing tactics such as this may cause unnecessary fears about the safety of fruits and vegetables due to pesticide residues. If presented in isolation, the statement may also negatively impact the consumption of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables.