Diet

Forbidden Fruit: Why Europe Is Banning U.S. Apples

If Europeans won't eat them, are they safe enough for you to eat?

In 1866, the Welsh guy who originated the "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" saying had no way of knowing that a century and a half later eating apples could potentially induce a visit to the doctor -- if they're grown in America anyway.

Yes ladies, America's baseball, hot dogs and apple pie rep across the pond has been tarnished -- not by politics, or sanctions or Adam Sandler movies, but by the fact that our apples contain too much pesticide residue to be considered safe by European standards. Or, even to be baked into a patriotic pie.

Sacrebleu.

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Mother Jones reports that the European Food Safety Authority which, since 2008 has had a major bee in its bonnet about DPA (a chemical that prevents "storage scald" a.k.a. icky brown spots on stored fruit), has now found the levels on U.S. Apples too high to be considered safe for consumption.

According to smart people who know these things, DPA itself isn't injurious but it can become carcinogenic as it breaks down, which it does while it sits on fruit. Not good.

Those perfect, Snow White prop-worthy, ruby red pieces of fruit that beckon to you from supermarket produce shelves average a 0.42 DPA residue reading which is nearly four times the European limit.

It's also one of the primary reasons why apples continually top "Foods You Should Buy Organic" lists. They're off the charts when it comes to both pesticides and DPA. (The others in the top 10 are; celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches, potatoes and spinach.)

The economic impact on Europe boycotting our exported apples is unclear at this point but, from where I sit, that's more than a little beside the point. When you go out of your way to eat healthily and seek out fruits and veggies to ensure you're getting proper vitamins and nutrients, you shouldn't then have to worry whether or not those produce items are fit for consumption. Otherwise, why not just rip open a Twinkie and call it a day? Am I right?

Am I over-reacting? Do you worry about chemicals on your produce? Do you try to wash it off? Would like to know you approach this tricky topic for you and your family.

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