Don’t fear food! We have enough on our table


I don’t know about you but I’ve had it with the fearmongering around food. And I’ve really had it with groups that have a hidden agenda.

One such group is the Environmental Working Group (EWG). They’re the people behind scaring us about pesticides in produce with their annual Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen – lists of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables foods that they say we should avoid. Instead they are promoting organic choices. If you want to buy organic produce, go for it.

But while the lists have been repeatedly discredited by the scientific community, there are still potential consequences. As a result, some will eat fewer fruits and vegetables when there’s no doubt that the health benefits far outweigh any drawbacks from pesticides.

Crop Life Canada points out that more than 99 percent of Canadian fruits and vegetables test well below pesticide residue limits set by Health Canada. While Crop Life Canada does represent plant science companies that make plant biotechnology, pesticides and herbicides for agriculture and urban use, their views are shared by many well-respected experts.

Now what about the Environmental Working Group? They state that they’re “a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.”

So what’s their real agenda?

Check out this news story “Preservative in Pop-Tarts, Cheez-Its, hundreds of popular foods may harm immune system”. It talks about harm from a preservative called tert-butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ.

Notice the foods that they draw attention to. Now to be clear. I’m not a fan of Pop-Tarts or Cheez-Its. There’s no doubt that they’re ultra-processed food products, something we eat in excess and definitely need to eat less of.

What better hook can you have than one that talks about foods that harm your immune system, especially these days?

This is fearmongering at its best.

When you take a closer look at EWG, their agenda becomes a little clearer.

Check out this interesting information about EWG and their funding. If you look carefully, you can see they receive support from a group called Organic Voices Action Fund (OVAF) which is funded by more than 20 companies, including Nature’s Path and Annie’s.

I wondered about the particular products mentioned in EWG’s press release (I haven’t linked it as I don’t want to give them more traffic) and the subsequent media stories. The reason for my curiosity is that the last time they did something like this, when they slammed some cereal companies, I checked them out and found that their funders had competing products.

So here we go.

Toaster pastries- what a surprise.

Hmmm – cheese crackers

So the next time you read anything about EWG or any other organization that tries to frighten you about the incredible risks associated with certain products, you might want to take it with a grain of salt and stop reading. It’s likely better for your health.


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Categories: Rosie's Rants

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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