EWG’s “Dirty” Little Secret: There’s No Science Behind It

By Lucy Stitzer March 17, 2021

Global Food


EWG’s “Dirty” Little Secret: There’s No Science Behind It

Health and Nutrition

By Lucy Stitzer March 17, 2021

Our founder speaks up about our right to choose whether to buy organic or conventional produce by empowering us to use facts substantiated by research institutions, not fears caused by a political group misusing data to fit their agenda.

Every year, an organization called the Environmental Working Group (EWG) comes out with its list of a “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables that are supposedly “contaminated by some pesticide residue”. EWG’s goal is to get people to buy organic (and thus, more expensive) versions of these fruits and veggies rather than their conventional counterparts. They also make very clear on their website that this is also part of a political agenda and that they even spun off a political group, the “EWG Action Fund”, to lobby on their behalf.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog or checked out my bio, you’ll know I’m not opposed to organic food. In fact, I think both consumers and farmers should have a choice on what they want to eat and grow. I believe if you want to buy organic produce, it should be available to you.

However, whether you decide to buy organic or conventional fruits and veggies, I want you to be armed with facts, not fear. For many of us, the lines are really blurred as to what is better. Honestly, they are both allowed to use pesticides – they are simply different types that are allowed by the organic industry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

So, to tell Americans not to eat produce because they might get sick and poison their families is actually adding to our nation’s health issues.  The majority of Americans either have cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, or are obese.

Of course, there is no magic bullet. But the American Heart Association Journal, concluded the following:

“Higher intakes of fruit and vegetables were associated with lower mortality; the risk reduction plateaued at ≈5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. These findings support current dietary recommendations to increase intake of fruits and vegetables, but not fruit juices and potatoes.”

It is not just your mother telling you to eat your fruits and vegetables; there continues to be peer-reviewed evidence. In fact, the U.S. National Institute of Health said that eating more fruits and vegetables can reduce cancer, too:

“The epidemiologic experimental and clinical studies conducted…suggest that the risk of colon cancer and possibly other cancers also may be lowered by taking large amount of dietary fibers and other dietary components associated with high intake of grains, vegetables, and fruits. There is an inverse relation between incidence of colon cancer and the amount of fiber consumed.”

Additionally, the Annals of Internal Medicine did a study linking diet to cardiac health:

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables given over 8 weeks were associated with lower levels of markers for subclinical cardiac damage and strain in adults without preexisting CVD [cardoivascular disease].”

The science behind EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” has been called into question. It’s just not true that there are “dirty” or “clean” foods based on whether they were grown conventionally or organically. My biggest concern with what EWG is doing, aside from it being scientifically questionable, is that it can negatively impact our health.

Eating your five daily servings of fruits and veggies can be transformative to your life and health. Don’t let EWG scare you or make it less likely you’ll buy affordable fruits and veggies – regardless of how they were farmed. Rest assured, both organic and conventional methods of farming are safe.