Tell it to The Packer | Letter to the Editor

Marilyn Dolan, executive director
Alliance for Food and Farming
Watsonville, Calif. 

Letter: Online organic resource fights misinformationLike many of us in the produce community, the Alliance for Food and Farming is seeing an increase in questions about organic pesticides and residues.

In response, our organization launched a webpage that outlines the laws and regulations governing the approval and use of organic pesticides in fruit and vegetable production.

For the first time, this information is easily accessible in one spot.

Our hope is that this information will reassure organic consumers and answer their questions about the safety of these products.

Researching and compiling this information literally took months, even with Lea Brooks, former assistant director of communications for the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, heading up this effort.

But Lea’s work has resulted in streamlined information that will help consumers learn more about the safety of the organic fruits and vegetables.

This is important so that existing negative perceptions about the use of pesticides do not cause unwarranted concern about organic products as consumers ask more questions about the use of crop protection tools in those farming systems.

An even better step would be for activist groups and others to stop advancing these misconceptions and inaccuracies about residues on conventional produce.

These groups know and even state clearly and publicly that they believe organic and conventional fruits and vegetables are safe to eat.

Yet, they continue to use terms like “pesticide loads,” “chemical cocktails” and “toxic and persistent pesticides” when describing conventionally grown fruits and veggies.

It would be a shame if this perpetuation of negative residue messaging escalates similar concerns about organic produce among consumers.

So, while we believe this new section on organic pesticides can help reassure consumers and alleviate fears, the most effective tactic would be to abandon the unfair and inaccurate disparagement of one production system over another.

Especially when there is wide acknowledgement that both production systems yield safe food.

Instead, let’s communicate the message that health experts everywhere agree on: Eat more conventional and organic fruits and vegetables every day for improved health and a longer life.

Visit to learn more about the safety of organic and conventional fruits and vegetables.

Please feel free to share this information with consumers via your own websites’ outreach efforts.