In a recent study by University of Kentucky researchers, watermelon was shown to reduce atherosclerosis in animals.
The animal model used for the study involved mice with diet-induced high cholesterol. A control group was given water to drink, while the experimental group was given watermelon juice. By week eight of the study, the animals given watermelon juice had lower body weight than the control group, due to decrease of fat mass. They experienced no decrease in lean mass. Plasma cholesterol concentrations were significantly lower in the experimental group, with modestly reduced intermediate and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations as compared to the control group.
Dear Crisis Communications Committee:
I just wanted to bring to your attention an article that hopefully won't proliferate. The article titled "Produce industry wants Americans to eat their pesticide-laden veggies" revolves around the consortium of commodity groups that signed on to a campaign to assure consumers that pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables, that are reported by the USDA, are safe and well within the tolerable levels and do not pose a risk to the public. The article takes an unfair shot at watermelon: " A consortium of food groups, from the American Mushroom Institute to the National Watermelon Association Inc., ismounting a campaign
to reassure consumers that it's perfectly safe to eat pesticide-laden products. http://www.grist.org/list/2011-05-16-produce-industry-wants-americans-to-eat-their-pesticide-laden-ve
Specifically this consortium is targeting the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and its "Dirty Dozen" list. Quoting an article of few days ago in the Washington Post, " The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization that ranks the fruits and vegetables it says have the most pesticide residue. The group also lists “The Clean Fifteen,” a ranking of produce with the least residue." The article goes on to say, " in a recent letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, 18 produce trade associations [including NWA] complained that the data have “been subject to misinterpretation by activists, which publicize their distorted findings through national media outlets in a way that is misleading for consumers and can be highly detrimental to the growers of these commodities.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/produce-industry-presses-usda-on-pesticide-report/2011/05/05/AFxzgQ4G_story.html
Watermelon has always been consistently low in pesticide residues, according to the USDA residue testing program that the EWG references. In fact, the EWG has consistently listed watermelons in the "Clean 15" list based on the low levels reported by the USDA residue program. Still, this is the kind of publicity that is inflammatory and is an unfair knock to all fruits and vegetables by detracting from the invaluable and indisputable benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
This is just to let you be aware that any association in the media between watermelon and pesticides is due to misinformation and mis-matching of the elements of the story. Our crisis communications team is in the loop and doesn't feel any action is necessary. This is an isolated article and it shouldn't go far. If it does, we are prepared. We just anted to keep you in the loop.
National Watermelon Promotion Board
407.657.0261 ext. 206