The Packer | Editorial

A study suggesting fruits and vegetables may not be the cancer-fighting magic bullet some nutrition experts had assumed, while not welcome news for produce marketers, does not mean fresh fruits and vegetables fail to deliver nutritionally or that marketers lack a compelling case for increased consumption.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute involving nearly half a million Europeans, found little correlation (4% lower incidence) between eating about two extra servings of fruits and vegetables a day and preventing cancer.

The Produce for Better Health Foundation, which has championed produce’s health role via its 5 a Day and More Matters programs for nearly 20 years, responded that while the cancer-prevention link has become less conclusive, evidence has been strengthening for fresh produce’s role in preventing heart disease and maintaining a healthy weight.

PBH also correctly points out that studies on the relationship between consumption of specific fruits and vegetables and preventing cancer in general — as well as specific types of cancer — appear promising.

The study’s authors themselves — to their credit, despite their findings — said consumers should not lower produce consumption.

Researchers are constantly making new findings, sometimes contradictory.

Nutrition should remain a marketing point for fresh fruits and vegetables, but just one of many, including healthy lifestyles, taste and variety.

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