AFF: Reassuring Science Refutes ‘Dirty Dozen’

Published online: Mar 27, 2023 Articles
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The following is a March 15, 2023, blog post from the Alliance for Food and Farming.

The safety and nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables is verified by decades of science. Toxicology studies and analyses confirm the safety while nutrition research shows the numerous health benefits of eating a produce-rich diet.

The body of scientific research should reassure consumers that whether they choose organic or conventional produce, they can eat both with confidence and the right choice is to always eat more.

Let’s take a quick look at just a few of those studies:

-A peer reviewed study which analyzed the risks and impact from consuming more conventionally grown produce found that if half of all Americans increased their consumption of a fruit and vegetable by a single serving, 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented annually.

-For those who use the so-called “dirty dozen” list to guide their shopping choices, a peer reviewed study found that the list author’s recommendation to substitute organic produce for conventionally grown did not decrease risk since residues are so low, if present at all, on conventionally grown produce.

-The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program found that over 98% of food samples had residues well below Environmental Protection Agency safety levels with over 25 percent having no detectable residues at all.

A study from Tufts University found that produce prescriptions for fruits and veggies would prevent 1.93 million cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks) and 350,000 deaths, as well as cut healthcare costs by $40 billion.

-An analysis by toxicologists with the University of California Personal Chemical Exposure Program found that a child could eat hundreds to thousands of servings of a fruit or vegetable in a day and still not have any health effects from residues, since residues are so low if present at all.

-If you consume seven or more fruits and vegetables in a day, you could lower your risk of premature death by 42 percent, heart disease by 31 percent and cancer by 25 percent, according to a peer reviewed study published in the journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

But maybe you are more interested in other benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Well, peer reviewed research has also found that eating lots of produce results in your skin developing a healthy, attractive glow, mental well-being improves and you may sleep better.

For those who still have produce safety concerns, just wash your fruits and vegetables.

According to the federal Food and Drug Administration, washing fruits and vegetables under running tap water often removes or eliminates residues, if they are present at all. But remember, never use soap or detergents when washing produce – running tap water only.

Read, learn choose but eat more fruits and vegetables every day.