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Was UC Davis Dirty Dozen Study Supported by Pesticide Industry?

“TopSecretWriters was struck by the effort UC Davis researchers put into downplaying the EWG’s findings, and so we decided to conduct a background investigation into the school’s connections with the pesticide industry.

TSW researchers discovered that there is actually a significant conflict of interest involved with UC Davis and the pesticide industry.

None other than Monsanto, a leading producer of seed, pesticides and herbicides sponsors the UC Davis Biotechnology Training Grant. This fact was identified, buried on the CV of a current UC Davis staff.

Needless to say, this fact is evidence that the University has a self-interest in making sure the company keeps the grant dollars flowing.

With that said, there is no evidence Monsanto helped to specifically or directly fund the anti-EWG study itself.”

Was UC Davis Dirty Dozen Study Supported by Pesticide Industry?

BenjaminJames

A recent UC Davis study seems to take the Environmental Working Group to task for adding ten specific fruits and vegetables to it’s “Dirty Dozen” list of produce that’s typically high in pesticides.

The study, conducted by the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California states:

“For three commodities—blueberries, cherries, and kale—the RfD was more than 30,000 times higher than the exposure estimates for all of the ten most frequently detected pesticides on those commodities. Given these findings, the inclusion of blueberries, cherries, and kale on the “Dirty Dozen” list is not justified.”

The study provides an even more scathing review on page six when it states, “The methodology used to create the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list does not appear to follow any established scientific procedures.”

UC Davis Conflict of Interest With Monsanto

Much of the paper is focused on dissecting the Environmental Working Group’s procedures in a way that underplays the accuracy of the study, and essentially ignores whether or not there really are higher levels of pesticides – regardless of whether amounts are low – on thoose particular fruits and vegetables.

TopSecretWriters was struck by the effort UC Davis researchers put into downplaying the EWG’s findings, and so we decided to conduct a background investigation into the school’s connections with the pesticide industry.

TSW researchers discovered that there is actually a significant conflict of interest involved with UC Davis and the pesticide industry.

None other than Monsanto, a leading producer of seed, pesticides and herbicides sponsors the UC Davis Biotechnology Training Grant. This fact was identified, buried on the CV of a current UC Davis staff.

Needless to say, this fact is evidence that the University has a self-interest in making sure the company keeps the grant dollars flowing.

With that said, there is no evidence Monsanto helped to specifically or directly fund the anti-EWG study itself.

UC Davis Responds – No Direct Funding

TSW Editor Ryan Dube contacted Carl Winter, one of the chief authors of the UC Davis study, and asked him about the fact that Monsanto sponsors the UC Davis Biotechnology Training Grant – and whether that might suggest a conflict of interest when the same school starts publishing pro-pesticide papers.

Carl Winters simply pointed out that there was no direct funding of the study when he responded, “The work described was not funded by any food, chemical, or agricultural organization.”

However, the existing relationship between Monsanto and the UC Davis

does in fact represent a conflict of interest, and calls the motivation behind the published study into question.

The Dirty Dozen List

According to the EWG, there are 12 produce items with high pesticide levels. Blueberries, Apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines, grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce and kale also share a spot on the “dirty dozen” list.

ewg

The group took samples of all the items on the list and tested for pesticides. Some items, such as hot peppers, were treated with as many as 97 pesticides.

The EWG tests levels of fruit and vegetables as eaten. Basically, it tests foods that are washed and peeled when applicable.

UC Davis researchers claim that their study casts the entire list into doubt. It claims items on the “Dirty Dozen” list contain pesticides at a levels too minute to impact human health and furthermore, the EWG has no scientific evidence to support its claim that avoiding the foods on the list can reduce pesticide intake by four-fifths.

The blueberry industry, of course, came out immediately in support of the study.

“We have long known that blueberries are among the healthiest of foods,” said Mark Villata, Executive Director of the North American Blueberry Council, an organization that represents the cultivated blueberry industry. “The UC Davis study comes as no surprise to us.”

Environmental Working Group  Responds

The EWG admits their Shopper’s Guide isn’t built on a “complex assessment of pesticide risks,” but reflects the overall pesticide loads in common produce items.

The group says their method captures the uncertainties and risks of pesticide exposure and offers consumers the peace of mind in knowing they are buying foods with low pesticide levels.

The EWG also points out that pesticides are toxic by design, created to kill living organisms and fungi. The pesticides can also pose a risk to humans and have been linked to several health complications.

The group recommends eating organic fruits and vegetables grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, genetic engineering, radiation or sewage.

uc davis

Other Monsanto Ethical Concerns

Meanwhile, Monsanto is the target of a Greenpeace campaign over the health implications of its pesticides. According to Greenpeace, the company’s Round Up weed killer is being linked to serious health issues, including cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

Round Up shares a common ingredient with several other herbicides, a chemical known as glyphosate, which some studies show to be dangerous to humans.

According to the Ecologist, Monsanto has a history of attaching itself to academic institutions by providing grants and funding studies that cast pesticides in a positive light. Such studies misled the public for years into thinking glyphosate was safe, even though Monsanto knew it was causing cancer and birth defects in laboratory animals.

As more information comes out about the UC Davis study, we may find that Monsanto played a more direct role in influencing the study. However, at this point all we can confirm is that the company is not opposed to handing UC Davis grant money.

Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com

 

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