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Don’t be afraid of your apples

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There was plenty of the predictable nonsense on the Internet. “Europe to America: Your apples are hazardous,” or “Enjoying that apple? European Union thinks it contains carcinogens,” or the usual stuff about “pesticide-coated apples” we supposedly foist on an unwilling world.

It was all reminiscent of the Alar affair — minus the skull-and-crossbone graphics and the twisted propaganda on “60 Minutes.” The techniques are similar — the fundraising professional environmental scaremongers point out that a chemical exists, that it genuinely is a chemical, and that it is found in some parts per million on food, and you might eat some. Never mind that the chemical in question is found in barely detectable amounts far below government safety limits, or that it serves a useful purpose — keeping food from rotting, or being consumed by insects. So if you are making a living scaring people you can sort of tell the truth — there are chemicals, some are on food — but you can make hay on the hysterical reactions of mostly ignorant people.

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