US apple, pear exports to Europe threatened by chemical ban
- The European Union has reduced the allowable amount of diphenylamine, known as DPA, on imported fruit to 0.1 parts per million. The move essentially bans all imports of conventionally grown apples and pears from the United States.
- DPA is a growth regulator in wide use in the U.S. since 1962. It prevents the browning and spoiling of fruit.
- The E.U. banned the use of DPA on fruits grown on the continent in 2012.
This news from the E.U. is hardly a surprise. U.S. growers have expected it ever since European growers were told they could no longer use DPA, which has already had a significant impact on U.S. exports to Europe. Last year was the worst year in decades for pear exports to Europe, and Europe only represents 2% of Northwest exports for apples.
Where things could get a little tougher for fruit growers is right here in the United States. The publicity over the E.U.'s decision is generating a fair amount of attention on social media and on food-activist Web sites. The pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the chemical for domestic use is growing.