Few people would debate the fact that apples are considered a health food. Why then has the import of apples from the United States been banned in Europe?
Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott reports that the ban has to do with a substance called “diphenylamine” (DPA) which is applied to most conventionally grown apples after harvest. DPA helps keep apples from getting “storage scald” (brown spots that can develop after the fruit is stored for prolonged periods of time).
While DPA is not currently considered to have direct health risks, there are concerns over the possibility of DPA forming nitrosamines (a known family of carcinogens) as it deteriorates, which is why European food safety regulators started to question the use of DPA on apples.
In response to these concerns:
“The industry came back with just ‘one study that detected three unknown chemicals on DPA-treated apples, but it could not determine if any of these chemicals, apparently formed when the DPA broke down, were nitrosamines.‘ – Environmental Working Group (EWG)
Unsatisfied with the response, the EFSA banned use of DPA on apples in 2012. And in March, the agency then slashed the tolerable level of DPA on imported apples to 0.1 parts per million, EWG reports.“ – Tom Philpott, Mother Jones
In 2010, 80 percent of apples tested by the US Department of Agriculture contained DPA residues on them. “Average reading: 0.42 ppm, or about four times the new European limit.”
In the US the Environmental Protection Agency allows DPA residues of up to 10 ppm and doesn’t seem too eager to perform further research on this chemical and its potential health risk.
So are DPA sprayed apples safe for consumption? It seems the jury is out for now, but European food safety regulators aren’t taking any chances. So, should we?
To read the original post: “Why American Apples Just Got Banned in Europe.”
* Veganic and organic apples are not directly sprayed with DPA.