Target: José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission
Goal: Applaud the European Union for banning unsafe U.S. apples sprayed with chemical preservatives
Approximately 80% of apples grown in the United States are sprayed with a chemical called diphenylamine (DPA) to keep them fresh during storage. DPA has been used in the U.S. since 1962 to prevent blemishes that occur during the transportation and storage of produce. Although man American consumers accept this as common practice, U.S. apples have been banned in Europe over safety concerns.
The European Union (EU) has listened to European food authorities, whose research found that DPA produces carcinogens and harmful byproducts when it interacts with other chemicals during storage. The new European regulation allows for 0.1 parts per million of DPA tolerance for apple imports. Since the average American apple has a 0.42 parts per million DPA concentration, the EU has essentially banned American apples for being unsafe.
Although more research is needed about DPA’s risks to public health, the EU decided to ban moderate-to-high levels of DPA until the studies are more conclusive. This respectable action should serve as an example to American policymakers and encourage U.S. leaders to take a closer look at this potentially hazardous chemical preservative. A statement from EPA included this response: “If evidence arises to challenge the safety of this registered pesticide, EPA will take action.” Sign the below petition to applaud European leaders for protecting consumers from dangerous chemicals and serving as a respectable example to American lawmakers.
Dear President Barroso,
I would like to thank you and the leaders of the European Union for considering the scientific findings about the risks of diphenylamine (DPA) on imported produce. DPA can produce carcinogens and harmful byproducts when it interacts with other chemicals during storage. Almost all apples from the United States have unsafe levels of DPA.
The EU’s proactive safety move has undoubtedly made U.S. policymakers and producers defensive about the quality of U.S. produce. However, your action has also forced American leaders to take another serious look at this dangerous chemical. I am urging you to work with the U.S. EPA to conduct further research into the public health and safety risks of DPA so that proper safety regulations can be implemented on both continents. Until a more rigorous analysis proves that DPA is safe to use on produce, please continue to enforce your ban of non-organic U.S. apples, pears, and other produce.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: ollesvensson via Flickr