IRVINE, Calif. (FNS) -- The Western Growers Association is urging the Clinton administration to convey a fundamental and consistent message to Americans on the many benefits of consuming a minimum of five servings of fruits, vegetables and nuts daily.
the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health has for many years served as the federal agency with responsibility for the National 5-A-Day program. But recently, an apparent "internal conflict" has developed within the Clinton administration on this issue, and is reflected in the actions of other agencies that are "undercutting" the NCI message.
"Unfortunately, instead of resolving these conflicts internally, the administration is apparently prepared to send signals to the American public that will be highly confusing and could be most detrimental to the many years of good work that has been done in the 5-A-Day program," said David Moore, WGA president.
The association cited two developments within the Clinton administration by agencies that it charges have strayed from the primary 5-A-Day message. One is a proposed consumer brochure being assembled by the Environmental Protection Agency that warns shoppers of the potential dangers of pesticide residues on fresh fruits and vegetables. WGA believes this could unnecessarily frighten consumers and prevent them from consuming five servings a day.
"In survey after survey, scientific researchers have determined that the risks posed by pesticide use are extremely minimal, and are far outweighed by the beneficial impacts of consuming fresh fruits and vegetables," said Moore.
The other example cited by WGA is statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control last year indicating that organic production practices could threaten product safety by exposing crops to bacteria that sometimes reside in manure. Manure is used in relatively greater quantities in organic farming. The Association fears that this, too, could be counterproductive to the primary 5-A-Day message.
"WGA's members produce fruits, vegetables and nuts using both traditional and organic methods of production," he said.