The USDA’s latest data, from the 2012 Pesticide Data Program report, show that 99% of sampled products had residues below EPA tolerances, according to the statement. “With the USDA’s data in mind, consumers should feel confident about eating a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Bryan Silbermann, CEO of the Produce Marketing Association, said in an e-mail to members that the Dirty Dozen was “a sensational list meant to drum up national media attention.” PMA’s funding of the Alliance for Food and Farming helps the industry counter misinformation about pesticide residues on fresh produce with science, Silbermann said.
The EWG’s 2014 Dirty Dozen list, the tenth edition of the report, listed apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, potatoes and imported snap peas. In addition, EWG said leafy greens — kale and collard greens — and hot peppers were cited as “frequently” contaminated by insecticides.
The group’s Clean Fifteen list is avocados, corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwi, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.
Lunder said there were relatively few changes in this year’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. Imported snap peas came on to the Dirty Dozen list and cauliflower was added to the Clean Fifteen and mushrooms came off the list, she said in an e-mail. She said the EPA should do more to comply with the Right to Know provisions of the Food Quality Protection Act.
The consumer group said in the release that its analysts rank produce using use six metrics including the total number of pesticides detected on a crop and the percent of samples tested with detectable pesticides.