While recently checking out the latest news on the CNN.com website, a video link caught my eye with the title “5 Foods You Should Never Eat.”
After 35 years in agricultural journalism, I figured the video was likely about slamming pesticide use in agriculture.
The CNN interview conducted by the network’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta featured Men’s Health magazine contributing editor David Jack. Dr. Gupta started the interview by saying “food industry experts” had compiled a list of foods which consumers should never eat.
The ‘expert source’ was none other than the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Those in production agriculture are well aware that the EWG pounces on opportunities to banish conventional agriculture in favor of organic production through fear-based tactics.
Jack of Men’s Health then shared his “5 Foods You Should Never Eat” list which included conventionally-grown strawberries, white chocolate, bean sprouts, canned tomatoes, and swordfish.
Jack said ‘common strawberries’ contain 13 pesticides and consumers should only eat organic strawberries. Conventionally-grown strawberries sit atop the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list for pesticide residue. Jack doesn’t know…Jack…about strawberry food safety.
He also urged consumers to back off their white chocolate candy addiction. He contended white chocolate is over processed which removes beneficial nutrients. Instead, he suggested chocolate bars with dark chocolate to fill the sweet tooth.
On sprouts, Jack suggested heating sprouts prior to consumption to kill possible bacteria, or better yet eat shredded carrots or cabbage instead to fill one’s veggie crunch fix.
The fourth item raised the hair on the back of my neck – canned tomatoes. Shown on the video screen were three cans of tomatoes; two with the brand names clearly shown. The graphic said “canned tomatoes.”
Yet Jack’s verbal message was actually about consuming food only sold in glass containers, not cans, due to an alleged resin in the can.
The point is CNN, or Jack, did not take the labels off the cans if the issue was solely about cans alone. This was misrepresentation.
Since the CNN interview first aired, I’ve love to know if canned tomato sales have sunk, especially for the two tomato companies linked by the can labels.
Here is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
Richard Cornett of the Western Plant Health Association says the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list has nothing to do with the objective science of pesticide residues, and everything to do with raking in money.
Cornett says a small child could eat hundreds or even thousands of servings of any fruit or vegetable without any impact whatsoever from pesticide residues. Check out this link.
A survey of toxicologists conducted by George Mason University in 2009, showed that 79 percent of scientists agreed that the EWG and other activist groups overstate risks, according to Cornett.
In contrast, the scientists in the survey rate most government agencies as accurately portraying chemical risks.