A University of California study recently published in The Journal of Toxicology has called into question on the scientific methodology behind the creation of the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list.

The peer-reviewed study, “Dietary Exposure to Pesticide Residues from Commodities Alleged to Contain the Highest Contamination Levels,”  was authored by Carl Winter, director of the University of California’s FoodSafe Program and Josh Katz, a fourth-year doctoral student at the University of California-Davis.

“Findings conclusively demonstrate that consumer exposures to the 10 most frequently detected pesticides on EWG’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ commodity list are at negligible levels and that the EWG methodology is insufficient to allow any meaningful rankings among commodities,” according to the study.

The study was independent of the Alliance for Food and Farming’s Safe Fruits and Veggies initiative, but the industry-backed group did call attention to the study with a headline titled “More Evidence that “Dirty Dozen” List is Based on Bad Science.”

“What’s very important to note about Dr. Winter’s report is the fact that it was peer-reviewed prior to being accepted for publication in the Journal of Toxicology,” according to the alliance’s website.

In addition, the group said that both of the Alliance for Food and Farming studies on the Dirty Dozen list are also currently being subjected to peer-review for submission in scientific journals.
On the other hand, to the knowledge of the alliance, the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen study itself has never been subjected to peer review.