It’s springtime, and across much of the country daffodils, iris, dogwood and other flowering plants are welcome signs of the season.

Another predictable sign of spring — though not welcome, at least by the produce industry and anyone with an interest in sound science and nutrition — is the Environmental Working Group’s release of its annual Dirty Dozen list.

The list, which warns the public of 12 fruits and vegetables to avoid for containing unsafe pesticide residues, marks its 10th year.

In a welcome change from years past — and somewhat surprising in this age of news reports aiming to gin up controversy and leverage scare tactics to drive page views — there has been little media coverage of the Dirty Dozen. As of May 1, the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Reuters had yet to report on the Dirty Dozen 2014.

Left-leaning websites such The Huffington Post and Salon did note the list’s release, and while they may have a sizeable audience they are not sites that appeal to a broad cross-section of the public.

No less a source than the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its latest data from the 2012 Pesticide Data Program report, suggests 99% of sampled products had pesticide residues below tolerances set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

EWG’s divisive list (pitting conventional versus organic and commodity versus commodity) ultimately threatens public health by undermining confidence in the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables, of which federal nutrition guidelines and any nutritionist with a grasp of reality recommend increased consumption.

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