Environmental Working Group has just released their 2015 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which includes their Dirty Dozen (produce with the highest pesticide) and Clean Fifteen lists. As EWG explains:
“Nearly two-thirds of the 3,015 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticide residues – a surprising finding in the face of soaring consumer demand for food without agricultural chemicals.
EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce calculates that USDA tests found a total 165 different pesticides on thousands of fruit and vegetables samples examined in 2013.
The USDA findings indicate that the conventional fruit and produce industries are ignoring a striking market trend: American consumers are voting with their pocketbooks for produce with less pesticide. USDA’s Economic Research Service estimates that the organically produced food sector, though just 4 percent of all U.S. food sales, has enjoyed double-digit growth in recent years. The trend is particularly strong for sales of organic fruits and vegetables, which account for the lion’s share of all organic food sales: USDA economists reported that organic produce sales spiked from $5.4 billion in 2005 to an estimated $15 billion last year and increased by 11 percent between 2013 and 2014. Pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables tested by USDA, even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled.
EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce recognizes that many people who want reduce their exposure to pesticides in produce cannot find or afford an all-organic diet. It helps them seek out conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that tend to test low for pesticide residues. When they want foods whose conventional versions test high for pesticides, they can make an effort to locate organic versions.”
The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity just released a report, Sugary Drink Facts, that highlights sugary drink nutrition and marketing to kids. While the report highlights some progress regarding beverage marketing to young people, it shows that companies still have a long way to go to improve their marketing practices and the nutritional quality of their products to support young people’s health.
A typical 8-ounce children’s drink contains 60 calories and 16 grams of sugar – more sugar than recommended for most children to consume in an entire day. One-third of children’s drinks contain artificial sweeteners.
Since 2010, overall level of marketing to youth on TV and children’s websites has gone down. Coca-Cola Co., Dr Pepper Snapple Group, and PepsiCo now provide calories-per-serving on the front of most packages, and they enhanced nutrition information on their websites. But not all companies are improving, and advertising is still overwhelmingly for unhealthy drinks:
* Preschoolers saw 39% more ads for PepsiCo’s sugary drinks in 2013 than in 2010; children aged 6 to 11 saw 25% more.
* One out of three TV ads for sugary drinks viewed by teens, and one out of four such ads viewed by preschoolers and children, promoted energy drinks. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, energy drinks “have no place in the diet of children and adolescents.”
* Out of all advertising dollars, beverage companies continued to spend four times as much to advertise sugar-sweetened beverages as they spend on 100% juice and plain water.
* Coca-Cola, Red Bull, and Pepsi were the top-three drink brands in Facebook likes, Twitter followers, and YouTube views.
The report recommends companies stop marketing sugary drinks and energy drinks to children and teens, and develop children’s drinks with less than 40 calories per serving and no artificial sweeteners.
Parents should ignore all the marketing claims on drink packages and check ingredient lists on packages of children’s drinks for added sugar, artificial sweeteners, and juice content.
The full report, a four page summary, and tools for consumers and researchers are available at sugarydrinkfacts.org. Follow the Rudd Center on Twitter at @YaleRuddCenter and take part in the conversation about the report using the hashtag #sugarydrinkfacts.
Sugar is making America sick, and by 2050, one in three Americans will have diabetes.
This week, Congressman Tim Ryan called on the US Food and Drug Administration to enact a clearer way to label the sugar content in foods by changing the measurement to teaspoons instead of grams to make it easier for consumers to understand the true amount of sugar in a product.
Please sign the petition to change sugar measurements on food labels.
As I wrote about last week (“Why are the Girl Scouts Getting into the Sugar Bomb Beverage Business?”), the Girl Scouts have partnered with Nestlé to market a super sugary drink to young children.
You can help send a message to Girl Scouts USA and Nestlé to stop marketing sugary drinks to children by signing a petition created at Change.org by mother of four and Girl Scout Troop Leader Monica Serratos. As Monica explains:
“If Girl Scouts continues to partner with companies that market sugary foods/drinks to children, our future generations will surely suffer. We will continue to see a rise in childhood obesity, diabetes and poor health for our children. If Girl Scouts of the USA does not pull these sugar-loaded drinks from the shelves, our children will endure the consequences not only today, but in their future as well. We will see our children grow up with bad habits and poor food choices that we could have prevented.”