The Alliance for Food and Farming and Markon Cooperative led bloggers, dietitians and others on a farm and processing facilities tour to educate them on food safety measures. ( Courtesy Alliance for Food and Farming )

The Alliance for Food and Farming and Markon Cooperative are using on-farm education to dispel food myths and misinformation about fresh fruits and vegetables. 

The AFF and Markon sponsored the second “Fact Not Fear” Produce Safety Media Tour Aug. 27-29, bring registered dietitians, bloggers and health and nutrition writers to Salinas Valley, Calif., fields and processing facilities. The group met with growers, chefs and food safety/nutrition scientists.

“This tour provides an important opportunity to communicate directly with these influencers about produce safety and the farmers’ care and commitment to providing wholesome and healthy foods,” Tim York, Markon president and AFF management board chairman, said in a news release. “We know nutritionists and dietitians are among the most credible sources for food safety information with consumers so this tour allows us to show them firsthand the steps taken every day to grow safe fruits and vegetables.”

After last year’s tour, participants shared what they learned and addressed misinformation about produce safety and how fruits and vegetables are grown, AFF Executive Director Teresa Thorne said in the release.

“As we saw after our first tour in 2017, these RDs, writers and bloggers are really connected to consumers and are so helpful in sharing what they learn in the field and also addressing any misinformation about produce safety or how we grow fruits and veggies,” Thorne said in the release.

The eight participants provide content for the Food Network, U.S. News and World report, The Today Show, Boston Globe and other media outlets, according to the release.

“After the 2017 tour, we saw how beneficial the engagement and sharing of AFF social content by these influencers was during the release of the 2018 Dirty Dozen list,” York said in the release. “We strongly believe their engagement was instrumental in mainstream, one-sided media coverage of the “dirty dozen” list declining to only 19%, an all-time low.”

The Annual Dirty Dozen list from the Environmental Working Group warns consumers about eating certain fruits and vegetables based on pesticide residue tests, despite information from the Alliance for Food and Farming and the industry that levels are far below amounts that would affect consumers’ health.