U.S. Government Sponsors Pesticides Propaganda Campaign

The conventional produce industry has launched a public relations campaign, funded by your tax dollars, to discredit the Environmental Working Group for making government pesticide information easily available to the public.

Take Action: Ask USDA to investigate the federal grant that was issued for this pesticides propaganda campaign.

Ironically, just last month, the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives published a research study showing pesticide residues on 1 out of 5 samples of foods eaten children. The residue levels, which were sampled over several days for 46 children across the country, were generally consistent by those reported by U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA database was developed by testing pesticide residues on hundreds of fruits and vegetables after washing or preparing – meaning the agency would have tested the fruit of the banana, not the peel, and washed the apples or grapes, etc. That’s the data that the produce industry thinks with which you, the produce-eating public, shouldn’t be concerned.

The Alliance for Food and Farming is accusing the Environmental Working Group, publisher of the popular “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides” and its related “Dirty Dozen” list, of discouraging American’s from eating fruits and vegetables. The group has been granted a $180,000 grant from a USDA-funded program in California to run an educational public relations campaign to, as they put it, “set the record straight”.

While the industry does not deny the presence of pesticides on our food, it argues that presenting such information in easy to read lists for the consumer is misleading because people will assume that it means pesticide-laden food is not safe. So AFF has released its online tool illustrating how much of a given fruit or vegetable a consumer would have to eat to be dangerous.

In a letter to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the state agency that administered the federal grant, EWG and Californians for Pesticides Reform write:

“The federally-funded Specialty Crops Block Grant (SCBG) Program in California is a valuable effort intended to support research, marketing and nutrition programs that help make produce, nuts and flower crops more competitive, accessible and in the case of research, more sustainable. While we strongly support this program, we object to the department’s decision to fund an industry communications initiative against legitimate public interest concerns related to pesticide residues on food. The award of this grant strikes a blow to California’s expanding organic produce industry and places the department in opposition to the public’s interest in reducing pesticide exposure. This action also represents a fundamental failure to implement a fair and balanced grant selection process.”

Take Action: Ask USDA to investigate the grant for the Alliance for Food and Farming and ensure that the USDA does not rubber stamp more outrageous grants like this one.

Vegetables photo by flickr user forever5yearsold / CC 2.0


Tina Scislow
Tina Scislow5 years ago

There are other ways to combat plagues and we need to find them. Pesticides kill other things too, not only bugs, us for example! Every single human life on the planet is a valuable one and brings unlimited potential for good to the world. Stop harming each and every one of us. Stop killing us. Thank you.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman6 years ago

thanx for article. Petition signed

chiari l.
chiari l.6 years ago

i do not trust our gov't

Tori W.
Past Member 6 years ago

one must really admire the innovation of federal agencies. actually not them so much as the produce growers.wow. what imagination. i'm guessing that they found a loophole in the grant requirements that allows them to say what they want.who's to prove they are lying? so,we, the taxpayers are paying for an association of for profit produce growers to lie to us about the foods they produce.yes,i do so love irony. now, for those who are really bright and understand the federal world, here's the thing, the feds aren't happy,and they have really long memories. how can one make this really impressionable. the thing with mid-level federal bureaucrats is they love their level of power, don't want to be embarrassed and don't want their bosses to know how they could possibly have committed such a screw up, not that they even did this,but they will be blamed for it. If i really, really wanted to make this an unforgettable "mistake" i might consider a petition to the cabinet secretary of agriculture.of course, i would never blame the federal employees.no.no.no.not if you want the feds on your side. one must blame the produce growers for taking advantage of this one. the produce growers broke the one rule of funding; the one rule you must never, ever break. Never burn (antagonize, use, embarrass) a funding source. They sure did that. Don't blame the feds. This is an opportunity to help increase the divide between the dept of agriculture and the produce growers..enjoy.

.6 years ago

Oh come on, the dirty dozen was the best movie of the 90's.

lets eat more dirty fruit, its only printed in english anyways, those punks think organix is from russia

Sarah G.
Sarah Gilmore6 years ago

this is why it's so important to buy or grow organic fruits & veggies..

Chris D.
Chris D.6 years ago

Major brands giving out samples on their favorite products search online for "123 Get Samples" I received my samples.

Joy Dantine
Joy Dantine6 years ago


neokuji s.
neokuji s.6 years ago

No taxpayer funded attacks ...We will not pay to poison ourselves and our environment!

Charlene R.
Charlene Rush6 years ago

I beg your pardon! This campaign is being funded with taxpayer dollars?

How silly of me, to presume that pesticide-laden foods might not be safe. POISONS!!! No big deal.

Purchasers must have the information, necessary to decide what they should or should not eat, and feed their families.
Now, we're not supposed to have this information.