Survey: Dirty Dozen list harms consumption - The Packer

Survey: Dirty Dozen list harms consumption

06/19/2012 01:19:00 PM
Tom Karst


“We’re calling on (EWG) to stop publishing the lists, unless they can show their language is not discouraging consumption,” Dolan said.


Dismissing that suggestion, Alex Formuzis, vice president of media relations for the Environmental Working Group, Washington, D.C., said it consumers pick Doritos over fruits and vegetables, it is not because of pesticides. “It’s because that is what they want to eat,” he said. Formuzis said the group was “100% certain” that any decline in fresh produce consumption is not attributable to the EWG Shoppers Guide. For consumers want to reduce their consumption of pesticides, Formuzis called the lists a “useful tool.”


Elizabeth Pivonka, president and chief executive officer of the Hockessin, Del.-based Produce for Better Health Foundation, said the EWG reports could cause consumers to choose a food like a hot dog instead of healthy fruits and vegetables.


“It is an irresponsible thing to have headlines like this and not give a balanced report to this kind of information,” she said.The “Scared Fat” report features research conducted in April by the research firm Charlton Research Co, using an Internet poll of 800 adults.


The study found that in a first ballot, 53% of consumers surveyed indicated they were very concerned about the safety of fresh produce. Thirty six percent of those polled said “free from chemical residues” is an important factor in fruit and vegetable purchases, trailing only “safety from contamination of food borne illnesses” (39%) and “cost of the product” (38%) in significance those surveyed.


After being presented in the survey with four negative messages about fruits and vegetable safety — one relating to pesticide residues and others relating to genetic engineering of food — consumers polled showed elevated levels of concern about food safety. The survey then found that 10% more consumers — rising from 53% to 63% — said they were concerned about fresh produce safety. Meanwhile, the percentage of those polled who were “not at all concerned” about fruit and vegetable safety shrunk by 5%, from 15% to 10%.

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Chicago  |  June, 19, 2012 at 01:50 PM

FDA once said transfat was good for us. Amonium Hydroxide is okay for consumption... Corn sugar is good for us. We have an obese population. Did it ever dawn on you that your so-called research is flawed?

Garland Jaeger    
Newport Beach, CA  |  June, 19, 2012 at 02:11 PM

I wholeheartedly agree that constantly throwing mixed messages at consumers likely dissuades them from purchasing produce at times. Our industry has been in dire need of a unified message for consumers for a long time. However blaming the EWG's Dirty Dozen list seems to only be putting more fuel to the confusion fire. The Alliance for Food and Farming's report only involved 800 people. That means "troubling finding was that almost 10% of low-income consumers stated that they would reduce consumption of fruits and vegetables after hearing about the Dirty Dozen" could only be 80 people, or less. Since it is only 10% of low-income consumers, it's likely this number is even lower than 80. It seems to me before people go blaming reports like the Dirty Dozen, they need more valid data involving many more consumers.

California  |  June, 19, 2012 at 06:27 PM

‘Dirty Dozen’ fruits and vegetables list updated for 2012 FYI

Fresno  |  June, 20, 2012 at 02:07 PM

FYI - Here are 12 reasons why you should not use the dirty dozen list to make purchasing decisions.

Veronica Kraushaar    
Nogales, AZ  |  June, 25, 2012 at 07:00 PM

Cn the heels of a difficult winter imports season and challenging economy, the notion that ANY fruit or vegetable is "dirty"is like salt on a wound. In fact, it's the ebbing tide that grounds all growers. Dolan and Pivonka are right on point that this is irresponsible behavior on the part of Washington groups that should know better. Fight the good fight, Ladies!

Bergen  |  July, 02, 2012 at 08:28 AM

Information is a good thing. To try to keep people uninformed about their food choices leads to more problems. The farming practices need to be cleaned up.

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