Monday, June 25, 2007

Where you know where your apple came from?

Fact for the day:

Fifteen years ago, China grew fewer apples than the United States. Today, it grows five times as many - nearly half of all apples grown in the world.

This AP report predicts that China is only a few years away from flooding the US with their cheap apples, the way they already have upended the apple juice business:

After Chinese juice concentrate entered the U.S. market, the average price for juice apples fell to $55 a ton in 1998 from $153 a ton in 1995. The industry filed an antidumping case but lost on appeal with the U.S. Commerce Department. Today, more than half of imported concentrate comes from China.

"It was an uproar within the industry," said Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association. "What can we do? It just takes the bottom right out of our market when the product is being delivered to New York City for less than we can process and harvest it here in the United States."

So what to do? The current US Farm Bill is up for renewal and US apple-growers are pressing for help. It seems insane that anyone in the US would be eating Chinese apples. They grow perfectly well here and we don't need to be fueling ships to carry them all the way from China where they may or may not have been grown drenched in pesticides or grown in toxic soil.

The last farm bill included a directive that all food be labelled with its place of origin. Sounds like a good start. I would also like to see a label with the exact field and farmer indicated, along with a list of any chemicals used to produce each product, including fertilizers, pesticides and whether the land and water used can be certified free of toxins.

All that inspecting would mean a huge increase in highly trained and competent inspectors -- here and abroad. New jobs for educated citizens doing something of the utmost value for all citizens.

No comments: