April 21, 2018

Tell USDA No Apples from China

The USDA this summer proposed to amend the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow the import of fresh apples from China into the United States. the only condition is that apples from areas in China where the Oriental fruit fly is not known to exist would include special rules.

Apple SlicesThose rules would include registration of places of production, inspection for quarantine pests and bagging of fruit and treating the apples with fumigation and refrigeration. All apples from China must be accompanied by a “phytosanitary certificate” stating that all conditions for importation of apples have been met.

Food & Water Watch opposes this rule, stating that “the proposed approach for managing the threat of quarantine pests would increase the volume of imported apples that should be inspected for residues of pesticides and other contaminants, such as arsenic.” China’s food safety and quality problems have been highlighted by numerous violations in the past few years, including the 2008 scandal of melamine in milk that┬ásickened 300,000 babies and hospitalized 54,000, and this year’s scandal of selling expired meat to major fast food chains.

Food & Water Watch states that the FDA is unable to cope with imported foods as is. The proposed rule gives the authority for inspecting the fruit to an organization in China. Giving responsibility for protecting U.S. agriculture to a foreign entity is problematic and a change in a long-standing prevention-based policy. U.S. farmers could be devastated by these pests if this rule is allowed to become law.

Consumer and food safety agencies are also concerned that more pesticides and contaminants such as arsenic will be on the apples, increasing risk of illness for U.S. consumers. You can sign a petition to the USDA telling them to keep Chinese apples out of the United States.

 

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