EWG Dirty Dozen List Includes Potatoes
March 8, 2017

Potatoes are once again listed among the annual “Dirty Dozen” list of produce containing the most pesticide residues (relative to other produce).  The 2017 “Dirty” list, published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), is designed as a “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce”.

Potatoes were spotlighted on this year’s “dirty” list because they are among the products surveyed under the “USDA Pesticide Data Program”, which is the data set the EWG says it uses to generate their lists.   This program tests pesticide residues each year on a rotating basket of fresh products which are sampled from across the United States.   All of the pesticide residues detected on potatoes were well within established tolerances. The USDA, EPA, and FDA conclude that the pesticide residues detected in this program do not pose risk to consumers’ health.

Even while highlighting pesticide residues, the EWG maintains the health benefits of eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits outweighs the risks of pesticide residue exposure.  Only 1 in 20 Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables each day, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The undesirable consumer image of pesticide residues is a produce industry issue, not just a potato one.  Groups such as the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) help spread the industry-wide message that studies show the EWG tactics have a negative impact on consumers who are already consuming too little produce.  The AFF’s SafeFruitsandVeggies.com website provides science-based information as well as a pesticide residue calculator.  For example, a child could consume 1469 servings of potatoes in one day without any effect, even if the potatoes have the highest pesticide recorded for potatoes by the USDA.

For more information, please contact Amy Burdett at amy@potatoesusa.com or 303-369-7783.