Apples have been dropped from school lunch menus in the Beverly Hills and the Culver City school districts as the concern over the chemical used to treat the fruit continues to grow.
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials said they decided to continue to serve apples and apple products after receiving assurances from vendors and state and federal officials that the fruit they serve is free of the cancer-causing chemicals, said Rita Esquivel, a spokeswoman for the district.
Tests for Safety
Beverly Hills decided to ban the apples despite assurances from its vendors that the apples were not tainted. “The district has eliminated all apples and apple products while their safety is being evaluated,” said Supt. Robert French.
Jim Lively, the chief financial officer in the Culver City district, said the ban in his district will remain in effect until the district receives a report on the tests being conducted in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
Culver City’s ban affects apples, but not apple juice and applesauce. “Apple sauce will not come up on the menu for another two weeks or so and by that time we hope to have a report,” he said. “We have decided not to ban apple juice because it is our understanding that the chemical is not being used on those apples.”
The decisions in Culver City and Beverly Hills were prompted by the recent announcements by officials from the two largest school districts in the country--New York City and Los Angeles Unified--that they were dropping the fruit because of the potential risks of ingesting daminozide, a chemical some growers use to treat apples.
The chemical, manufactured by Uniroyal Chemical Co. under the name Alar, is suspected of causing cancer. It is used by farmers to slow the ripening of apples and to improve their appearance.