NEWS SHOW REVIEWING ORGANIC CONTAMINATION CLAIM

NEW YORK -- Executives at ABC News said last week they are reviewing whether tests conducted on organic produce for a report that aired on the "20/20" newsmagazine program were, indeed, performed as stated.The question was first raised by the Environmental Working Group, Washington, which mailed a letter to "20/20" reporter John Stossel, who said tests performed on both conventional and organic produce

NEW YORK -- Executives at ABC News said last week they are reviewing whether tests conducted on organic produce for a report that aired on the "20/20" newsmagazine program were, indeed, performed as stated.

The question was first raised by the Environmental Working Group, Washington, which mailed a letter to "20/20" reporter John Stossel, who said tests performed on both conventional and organic produce indicated "no pesticide residue" on either sample. The segment first aired in February, and was repeated on July 7.

The pro-organics organization contacted the scientists cited in the story and was told by one of them that -- while they tested for generic E. coli bacteria -- they performed no tests for pesticides, according to a letter to ABC from Ken Cook, president of EWG.

"When a pesticide expert on my staff spoke earlier today to Dr. Doyle to learn about his pesticide analyses, Dr. Doyle informed us that his laboratory had conducted no pesticide tests for 20/20. He was unable to say how you assessed pesticide residues in order to conclude that there were 'no pesticide residues on the conventional samples or the organic,"' the letter stated.

The producer of the story returned Cook's letter, stating that the tests were done, and that the results had been sent along to the Organic Trade Association, Greenfield, Mass. Katherine DiMatteo, the trade association's executive director, was interviewed by Stossel, but told The New York Times that OTA had not received any test results.