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In the last few years, there has been a lot of attention paid in the popular press and
the popular media to lists of things. A good example of this has been the EWG list
of the Dirty Dozen, where they have taken surveys from government sources of fruits
and vegetables and then simply listed them in kind of hierarchical order and said, "Well,
this plant of this food product, this fruit, this vegetable has a higher pesticide residue
than this one." And then the implication is drawn, and it's
perfectly logical, to a consumer who is not skilled in this area to say, "Well if it's
highest it must represent something that's bad."
What's missing from this equation, though, is what amount actually presents a risk. And
if you don't factor that into it, you can be somewhat capricious or arbitrary and say,
"Well, I'm not going to eat that apple, or that strawberry or that walnut because it
has a level of a pesticide there." The reality is that most plants have some
low level of pesticide residue. Some of them from compounds we haven't used in twenty years.
But it doesn't necessarily mean it represents any risk whatsoever. So that's really problematic.
We have to somehow help educate the consumer about this.