The Environmental Working Group says it wants consumers to eat more conventional and organic fruits and vegetables. That is only half true.

The group recently introduced a Food Scores database that gives high marks to conventional and organic produce. The database, rating 80,000 food products and 1,500 brands, gives scores on a scale of 1 to 10.

The best score for organic fruits and vegetables is 1, while the best score for conventional fruits and vegetables is marginally lower at 1.3.

Yet the group continues to publish its annual Dirty Dozen list of commodities with the most pesticide residues, pairing healthful fruits and vegetables like apples with terms like “toxin-laden” and “contaminated” and “dirty.” Obviously, this does nothing to help consumers want to eat more conventional produce.

In response, Marilyn Dolan, executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming, asked the EWG president Ken Cook to put an end to the Dirty Dozen.

It’s not the first time — the alliance has repeatedly asked the EWG to end the list because it misleads consumers, is not peer-reviewed and is not based on real risk.

Not surprisingly, the EWG has said it will continue to publish its “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” also know as the Dirty Dozen list.

While we are encouraged that the EWG now maintains the nutritional benefits of conventional fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure, the group’s messages aren’t in harmony.

Science clearly backs the message for consumers to eat more fruits and vegetables, conventional or organic.

Once and for all, EWG should drop the fear tactics — and the “Dirty Dozen” moniker for produce.

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