Several weeks after the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list made national headlines, an agriculture-focused group is reaching out to journalists to counter the negative coverage.

Watsonville, Calif.-based Alliance for Food and Farming has a July 15 web seminar, “The Real Danger of the Dirty Dozen List,” and is inviting journalists to participate.

The seminar features a panel of toxicologists, risk assessors and nutritionists who believe the Dirty Dozen list misleads consumers.

Marilyn Dolan, executive director of the group, said the panel of experts will release a report summarizing their findings for release to the media on July 15. Dolan said July 8 the alliance is targeting influential members of the media to take part in the web event, though all media representatives are welcome to participate.

The website for the campaign, when it is launched July 15, will be, Dolan said.

The real danger to the public from the “Dirty Dozen” list fruits and vegetables with pesticide residues is that the list can serve to discourage consumption of fresh produce, she said.

The expert panel has concluded there is no scientific evidence that the levels of pesticides found on fresh produce pose any risk, the alliance said in a news release.

Ray Gilmer, vice president of communications for the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, participated in a similar July 1 web seminar open only to industry members about the campaign and said it’s necessary to provide balance to the story.

“United supports the alliance and all the alliance members in trying to bring the industry together for a cohesive message that can respond to some of the scare tactics and misinformation that groups like the Environmental Working Group put out there,” he said.

The panel includes:

  • Richard Reiss, principal scientist, Exponent, Inc. and president of the Society for Risk Analysis;
  • Carl L. Keen, professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine, University of California-Davis;
  • Elizabeth Pivonka, president of the Produce for Better Health Foundation; and
  • David W. Grotto, nutrition advisor for Fitness Magazine and former spokesman for the American Dietetic Association

More information about the event can be obtained at the alliance website,, and by calling the office at (831) 786-1666.