Food & Water Watch is warning that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recent approval of imported fresh apples from China could threaten American consumers and apple growers.

Polluted farmland

Executive Director Wenonah Hauter said because of pollution and food safety problems in China, “We could see apples with dangerous chemical residues imported into the United States. A 2014 survey by the Chinese government found that one-fifth of the country’s farmland was polluted with inorganic chemicals and heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium and nickel.”

Hauter said the FDA is already unable to monitor the growing flood of imported food, and the approval of even more imports will make it difficult for border inspectors to stop apples and apple products from China with residues of pesticides and contaminants.

Hitching a ride to America

“Allowing Chinese apple imports could also pose a risk to American apple orchards because the imports could harbor hidden invasive pests, including the destructive Oriental fruit fly and other insects. USDA approved Chinese apple imports in exchange for China opening its market to U.S. fresh apple exports. But China will be entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that these commercially destructive invasive insects would not hitch a ride to America.”

Hauter called on the USDA to halt the approval and withdraw the pending decision on allowing importing citrus fruits from China.

Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish people consume is safe, accessible and sustainable.