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Old Apr 29, 2014, 09:08 AM   #1
roadbloc
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Europe bans Apple

...American apples that is.

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Back in 2008, European Food Safety Authority began pressing the chemical industry to provide safety information on a substance called diphenylamine, or DPA. Widely applied to apples after harvest, DPA prevents "storage scald"—brown spots that "becomes a concern when fruit is stored for several months," according to Washington State University, reporting from the heartland of industrial-scale apple production.

What does that have to do with the US-grown apples now gleaming, spot-free, on supermarket shelves? According to EWG, in 2010, when the US Department of Agriculture last looked for DPA residues on US-grown apples, it found them on 80 percent of samples. Average reading: 0.42 ppm, or about four times the new European limit. In other words, the apple on your countertop would likely be deemed unsafe by European authorities.

So what's our own Environmental Protection Agency's take on DPA-coated apples? It green-lights residues of up to 10 ppm—100 times the new European norm—and hasn't reconsidered its position on the chemical since 1998, EWG reports. Nor does it have plans to do so in the future. Here's EWG:

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Earlier this year three scientists in the U.S. EPA Office of Pesticides, which is tasked with pesticide safety reviews, told EWG they were unaware of the new European ban and import restrictions. They said the agency had no plans to reassess DPA safety in light of the European actions.
Much ado about probably nothing.
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Old Apr 29, 2014, 10:32 AM   #2
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I (twitch) love me (twitch) unblemished apples.
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Old Apr 30, 2014, 08:22 AM   #3
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So do DPA-treated apples present real health risks? I don't know—and neither, apparently, do food safety authorities on either side of the Atlantic. Until they learn more, Europe has decided that the public shouldn't be gobbling up DPA along with their daily fruit. For Americans wanting the same level of protection, EWG suggests choosing organic apples when possible.
The most important part of the article. Basically the European commission is having a knee jerk reaction and banning something. When they don't actually know if it is harmful.

Also does this chemical come off when the fruit is washed? I don't know about others but I always wash my produce before eating or cooking.

It's a moot point for me anyways. Most of the produce I buy is organic from Whole Foods. Not that I specifically want organic. They just have great tasting produce much of which is organic.
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Old Apr 30, 2014, 08:43 AM   #4
Jessica Lares
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Bad move.

I wash fruit before I eat it too (I'm pretty sure the chemical does come off, or at least most of it). I mean, the stuff comes from an area where hundreds of people touch these things everyday, making sure that they're the right hardness and DON'T have these spots.

If the things didn't start going bad within the week, I would have more concern.

I'm more worried of the apples that come from our tree in the backyard anyway.
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Old Apr 30, 2014, 10:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by velocityg4 View Post
The most important part of the article. Basically the European commission is having a knee jerk reaction and banning something. When they don't actually know if it is harmful.

Also does this chemical come off when the fruit is washed? ....
Two different philosophies between Europe and the US. Broadly speaking and generalizing - in the US the onus is on consumer groups to prove something added to food is harmful before it is controlled. In Europe the onus is on the produce to prove something is not harmful before it is allowed.

If a substance has been absorbed into the skin of the apple, then washing it won't wash it off.

If DPA is triggering a hormonal reaction, then even a little bit can be harmful. What was that plastic thing a few years ago? BPA? The traditional test for harmfulness of a chemical was if (for example) 100ppm exposure gave a population a 10% chance of a negative outcome then 10ppm would mean only 1% of the population had a probability of negative outcome. You'd then balance the risk and severity of that outcome to come up with an acceptable exposure level. In the case of a hormonal reactions though, it seems that some substances will trigger the same level of negative outcomes regardless of the exposure level... once they reach a level that is detectable by the body.

In the case of DPA (using it as a hypothetical model) - if the US's EPA used research that showed that 100ppm of DPA produced a few too many negative outcomes and therefore cut the exposure to a tenth of that - it doesn't necessarily mean the negative outcomes were cut by a factor of 10 as well. If it's a hormonal reaction the negative outcomes might be happening at the same rate.

In the US... it is up to consumer groups to prove that the 10ppm rate of DPA is causing harm. That is to say that the model used by the producers of cutting the exposure means that the harm is also cut is wrong. In Europe it is up to the producers to show the research that even a small amount of DPA is not harmful.

I could argue that since the limit was imposed - then they couldn't find any research that showed even the 10ppm limit was safe.
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Old Apr 30, 2014, 11:04 AM   #6
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Just more protectionism from the EU to restrict their markets.
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Old May 2, 2014, 11:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by velocityg4 View Post
The most important part of the article. Basically the European commission is having a knee jerk reaction and banning something. When they don't actually know if it is harmful.
This is called the principle of precaution. They limited GMO commercialization, as Vermont wants to, because no independent proof was provided they're actually safe. Dr. Seralini study at least showed they may not be.


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Also does this chemical come off when the fruit is washed? I don't know about others but I always wash my produce before eating or cooking.
Valid yet unanswered question. I also wash apples before eating them, but still not sure ordinary, non antibacterial handsoap is safe to eat, even in minute amounts. I rinse other produce with vinegar-added water, mostly because everyone recommends it, so it stuck as a habit.

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Originally Posted by snberk103 View Post
Two different philosophies between Europe and the US. Broadly speaking and generalizing - in the US the onus is on consumer groups to prove something added to food is harmful before it is controlled. In Europe the onus is on the produce to prove something is not harmful before it is allowed.
The EU one makes more sense. A consumer usually doesn't have the necessary resources to prove a given health problem was caused by decades of consuming something. Yet evidence is growing suggesting common yet serious health issues such as cancers and allergies are increasing from increased exposure to harmful substances.

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If DPA is triggering a hormonal reaction, then even a little bit can be harmful. What was that plastic thing a few years ago? BPA? The traditional test for harmfulness of a chemical was if (for example) 100ppm exposure gave a population a 10% chance of a negative outcome then 10ppm would mean only 1% of the population had a probability of negative outcome. You'd then balance the risk and severity of that outcome to come up with an acceptable exposure level. In the case of a hormonal reactions though, it seems that some substances will trigger the same level of negative outcomes regardless of the exposure level... once they reach a level that is detectable by the body.

In the case of DPA (using it as a hypothetical model) - if the US's EPA used research that showed that 100ppm of DPA produced a few too many negative outcomes and therefore cut the exposure to a tenth of that - it doesn't necessarily mean the negative outcomes were cut by a factor of 10 as well. If it's a hormonal reaction the negative outcomes might be happening at the same rate.

In the US... it is up to consumer groups to prove that the 10ppm rate of DPA is causing harm. That is to say that the model used by the producers of cutting the exposure means that the harm is also cut is wrong. In Europe it is up to the producers to show the research that even a small amount of DPA is not harmful.
Proves my point. Here, the city only minimally treats its sewage before letting it go in the river. In the US river "users" downstream would have prove our city lack of proper sewage treatment is harming them, while in the EU, our city would have to prove their process is safe. It is not, as proven by recent ichtyologic studies showing human medicine residues had a strong feminizing effect on fish. They have a shorter life cycle, and much easier to study. That's why health-related norms should be set by evidence independently set by scientific bodies.
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Old May 4, 2014, 03:03 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by velocityg4 View Post
The most important part of the article. Basically the European commission is having a knee jerk reaction and banning something. When they don't actually know if it is harmful.

Also does this chemical come off when the fruit is washed? I don't know about others but I always wash my produce before eating or cooking.

It's a moot point for me anyways. Most of the produce I buy is organic from Whole Foods. Not that I specifically want organic. They just have great tasting produce much of which is organic.
It's a different way of doing things. Europe doesn't allow chemicals to be used unless they're proven safe. The US allows things to be used until they're proven to be a risk (I know I'm simplifying, but it boils down to essentially that).

I prefer the former. Who knows how many health problems were caused by chemicals that marginally increase yield?

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Originally Posted by Cubytus View Post
I also wash apples before eating them, but still not sure ordinary, non antibacterial handsoap is safe to eat, even in minute amounts.
Anti-bacterial soaps were one of the worse ideas we've had as a society. Ultimately ends up creating antibiotic resistant bacteria.
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Old May 4, 2014, 08:03 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Plutonius View Post
Just more protectionism from the EU to restrict their markets.
Pure unsubstantiated conjecture. Prove me wrong.
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Old May 4, 2014, 08:15 AM   #10
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Apparently 2% of US apple exports are to the EU, although I've never noticed an American apple in the shops. Seems like a long way to shift a low value fruit.
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Old May 4, 2014, 09:22 AM   #11
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Apparently 2% of US apple exports are to the EU, although I've never noticed an American apple in the shops. Seems like a long way to shift a low value fruit.
During the summer... before the apple harvest here and when apples in storage are running low ... I'm buying New Zealand apples.
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Old May 4, 2014, 10:55 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by snberk103 View Post
I'm buying New Zealand apples.
Yep, you're absolutely right. At least NZ has the excuse of being the wrong side of the world, although I can't help thinking that shipping fruit 12,000 miles isn't the best use of resources.

More bad news for American fruit exporters:

http://www.freshplaza.com/article/12...ears-in-Europe
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Old May 4, 2014, 11:38 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by mojolicious View Post
Yep, you're absolutely right. At least NZ has the excuse of being the wrong side of the world, although I can't help thinking that shipping fruit 12,000 miles isn't the best use of resources.

More bad news for American fruit exporters:

http://www.freshplaza.com/article/12...ears-in-Europe
I recently read a good article that looked at both sides of the issue. The best option is, of course, to only eat those foods that are in season and harvested locally - more or less. However there are great swaths of this continent that would be getting pretty tired of potatoes and turnips by march.

The article made the point that it is actually more energy efficient to move fresh apples from NZ to the Canada than to spend the energy keeping them refrigerated and in storage for 6 months. It was a Canadian article, but the principle can be applied globally I believe. Is it better to move something or to put it into a climate controlled warehouse.
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Old May 4, 2014, 01:05 PM   #14
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The article made the point that it is actually more energy efficient to move fresh apples from NZ to the Canada than to spend the energy keeping them refrigerated and in storage for 6 months.
Interesting. I'm now perilously close to fifty and I'm trying to remember just how seasonal fruit and veg were when I was a kid. Certainly salads (and salad potatoes) weren't all year round.

Very few fruits had been discovered back then, we lived mostly on Angel Delight. I would *guess* that shops sold us soft apples, stored in the dark at a cool ambient temperature. The traditional 'satsuma in yer Christmas stocking' would have been... Spanish / North African, and relatively fresh?
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Old May 4, 2014, 01:18 PM   #15
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Interesting. I'm now perilously close to fifty and I'm trying to remember just how seasonal fruit and veg were when I was a kid. Certainly salads (and salad potatoes) weren't all year round. ...
There's an old story - from the 1970s - of Russian who had managed to emigrate from the old USSR to Canada. His friends (who had travelled) had warned him about the range of goods to be found in the stores in the west - so that bit of culture shock was within his expectations. However, he was totally gob-smacked in the first week when his breakfast plate included slices of apples and strawberries. For his entire life strawberries were eaten in the spring - and apples were eaten in the fall…. and he had never ever imagined, much less seen, the two side by side.

It is a wonderful world we live in.

The other thing to note is that now you can grow strawberries right through the summer.
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Old May 4, 2014, 03:26 PM   #16
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I prefer the former. Who knows how many health problems were caused by chemicals that marginally increase yield?
True. See DDT. When something yields too good results to be true / sustainable, it has usually dire consequences. Medication, insecticides, stocks, examples abound.

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Anti-bacterial soaps were one of the worse ideas we've had as a society. Ultimately ends up creating antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Indeed As soon as I moved out of my parent's house, I stopped using these altogether. Not to say we should never wash hands or objects touched by so many others, but ordinary soap makes a good job of getting rid of many germs by physical action. I still cringe when I see people on the subway compulsively rubbing their hands with Purell and can't help but think as them as careless to society.
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Old May 6, 2014, 07:24 AM   #17
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...American apples that is.



Much ado about probably nothing.
I was hoping to come in here and give some right winger "yeah, 'MURICA" type a right drilling
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Old May 9, 2014, 08:00 PM   #18
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True. See DDT. When something yields too good results to be true / sustainable, it has usually dire consequences. Medication, insecticides, stocks, examples abound.

Indeed As soon as I moved out of my parent's house, I stopped using these altogether. Not to say we should never wash hands or objects touched by so many others, but ordinary soap makes a good job of getting rid of many germs by physical action. I still cringe when I see people on the subway compulsively rubbing their hands with Purell and can't help but think as them as careless to society.
DDT was just plain toxic on so many levels.

Most hand soaps are by nature anti-bacterial. Purell is more or less washing with alcohol and some veg product along with at times fragrance.

Europe is full of rotten apples so I am unsure what the complaint is (grin).
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Old May 10, 2014, 02:53 PM   #19
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DDT was just plain toxic on so many levels.

Most hand soaps are by nature anti-bacterial. Purell is more or less washing with alcohol and some veg product along with at times fragrance.

Europe is full of rotten apples so I am unsure what the complaint is (grin).
Clearly you don't understand much on the complaints.

DDT wasn't known to be so toxic because, as GMO, no long-term study was ever done on it when it was released on the market.

Purell may be natural, but along with heavy use of antibacterial soaps, contribute to the selection of resistant bacteria, whereas ordinary soap doesn't.
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Old May 11, 2014, 12:04 AM   #20
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Clearly you don't understand much on the complaints.

DDT wasn't known to be so toxic because, as GMO, no long-term study was ever done on it when it was released on the market.

Purell may be natural, but along with heavy use of antibacterial soaps, contribute to the selection of resistant bacteria, whereas ordinary soap doesn't.
DDT was never tested when it was used widely. In simpler terms it did exactly what it was supposed to do but with no testing on impact to animals or how long the chemical remains "active."

I totally agree with the over use of products like Purell. However, near all typical soaps by nature are "anti-bacterial." Much of the promotion of anti-bacterial soaps is just hype. This isn't my opinion but has been a long known quantity among advertising agencies, various protection advocates for healthy living etc. I don't think we are far apart on this topic but just looking at it from different perspectives.
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Old May 11, 2014, 09:22 AM   #21
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...
Purell may be natural, but along with heavy use of antibacterial soaps, contribute to the selection of resistant bacteria, whereas ordinary soap doesn't.
I agree that washing one's hands with plain soap and water the best solution and much better over washing with an antibacterial soap that contain triclosan (or similar). But I did want to, respectively, clarify one point you made. Purell doesn't contain an antibacterial drug - like triclosan. Purell's active ingredient is alcohol instead - and unlike triclosan, alcohol doesn't encourage antibacterial drug resistance.

Also, DDT is not a GMO...
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Old May 11, 2014, 03:02 PM   #22
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DDT was never tested when it was used widely. In simpler terms it did exactly what it was supposed to do but with no testing on impact to animals or how long the chemical remains "active."
And so were numerous "miracle drugs" from the 30s onward, cooling liquid in transformers, etc.

Quote:
I totally agree with the over use of products like Purell. However, near all typical soaps by nature are "anti-bacterial." Much of the promotion of anti-bacterial soaps is just hype. This isn't my opinion but has been a long known quantity among advertising agencies, various protection advocates for healthy living etc. I don't think we are far apart on this topic but just looking at it from different perspectives.
These campaigns play heavily on the germophobia of the American mother, and have succeeded quite well. Lysol would be out of business if the public ceased to buy into lies.

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Also, DDT is not a GMO...
Never said anything remotely like it.
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Old May 11, 2014, 03:40 PM   #23
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….

Never said anything remotely like it.
My apologies if I misinterpreted
Quote:
"DDT wasn't known to be so toxic because, as GMO…"
. I interpreted it as 'DDT, as a GMO, wasn't known to be so toxic [because]….' … and then the explanation.

I suspect English is not your first language so it's possible we're miscommunicating slightly.
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Old May 11, 2014, 06:20 PM   #24
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Just more protectionism from the EU to restrict their markets.
If you knew how European Countries, and the EU as a whole works. You would understand they care about peoples health before profits of big business.
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Old May 12, 2014, 04:29 AM   #25
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And so were numerous "miracle drugs" from the 30s onward, cooling liquid in transformers, etc.

These campaigns play heavily on the germophobia of the American mother, and have succeeded quite well. Lysol would be out of business if the public ceased to buy into lies.

Never said anything remotely like it.
I don't mean to be rude but siting other suspect practices does not make what happened with DDT acceptable. This is rather poor logic on your part. Might also mention that comparing a chemical compound that is designed to be a poison with "miracle drugs" is ... well pretty much a lackluster offering. As well, though primitive a great deal of drugs of the named generation you mentioned were in fact tested in experimental labs and more including sulfa based drugs.

We can concur that the public is fed a great deal of hype on a multitude of topics including cleanliness of the body and the home.
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