Environmental Working Group (EWG) at it again

This time the radical, malicious Environmental Working Group (EWG) is complaining about an $180,000 federal specialty crop grant for use in countering misinformation and outright lies coming from groups like EWG.

The money was awarded to the Alliance for Food and Farming, a Watsonville, Calif., trade association representing more than 50 grower and agricultural trade organizations. The grant is a very small part of California’s recently announced $17.5 million share of the USDA’s Specialty Crops Block Grant program.

California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) said the grant was awarded to publicly ”correct the misconception that some fresh produce items contain excessive amounts of pesticide residues. Claims by activist groups about unsafe levels of pesticides have been widely reported in the media for many years, but have largely gone uncontested. Continued media coverage of this misleading information is damaging to producers of California specialty crops and may also have a negative impact on public health. Utilizing sound science backed by a team of nutrition and toxicological experts, the Alliance for Food and Farming will seek to provide the media, the public and various target audiences with information about the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables. The goal is to generate more balanced media reporting and change public perception about the safety of produce when it comes to pesticide residues.”

EWG says that is a waste of taxpayer’s money. Of course, as a non-profit, EWG does not pay taxes and therefore no one can waste its money.

EWG calls the grant it “a slap in the face of California’s rapidly-advancing organic agriculture sector,” said Ken Cook, president and founder of EWG.

Cook seems to delude himself and confuse others by calling this an organic versus conventional issue. It is not. It is a truth versus lies issue.

“The state should think twice about using U.S. taxpayers’ money to attempt to give chemical-dependent industrial farming a competitive edge over organics,” Cook says. He goes on spewing half-truths and lies from there.

Let’s talk taxes and taxpayers and money. This malevolent news release is another example of the fear mongering EWG uses for one selfish purpose — to raise big bucks.

According to ActivistCash.com,EWG has overseen a Reign of Error lasting more than two decades.”

This includes the annual “dirty dozen” list of what EWG claims with its pseudoscience are the most pesticide laden fruits and vegetables. It is an annual disservice to agriculture and the consumer. On the surface, it is blatantly false.

According to Aboutcash, “There’s really only one thing you need to know about the Environmental Working Group when it comes to their studies of toxins: 79 percent of members of the Society of Toxicology say EWG overstates the health risk of chemicals.”

EWG is a “nonprofit organization that has learned how to turn public panic into a stream of hefty donations … by ginning up outrage that causes families needless worry and does incalculable damage to honest industries. Hyperbole, it seems, is big business — last year the EWG raised more than $6 million.”

And as a nonprofit, EWG paid no taxes on the money.

According to EWG’s 990 tax forms, the group’s total revenue was more than $6.2 million for 2008. Over $3.2 million of that was distributed to the group’s board members: $219,401 to President Kenneth Cook; $179,218 to Executive Director Richard Wiles; and $150,226 to Director of Research Jane Houlihan. Five more board members racked up six figure salaries. Another $2 million was distributed to other employees, and almost $300,000 was put into pension plans and other benefits packages.

Almost half of EWG’s income goes for salaries and benefits. That is a very lucrative nonprofit scam.

EWG raised $6 million of the $6.2 million  from various philanthropies. Most of these are tax dodges for the wealthy.

These nonprofit tax avoidance scams cost you and me plenty of money. We have to pay for the entire public infrastructure that keeps them going. And the most galling of all is that taxpayers must pay legal fees for these groups when they file frivolous and harassing lawsuits.

Let’s set the record straight about wasting taxpayer money.

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