US apple growers have warned they might turn away from exporting to EU countries such as the UK if price pressures and regulatory demands do not ease.

The New York Apple Association, which exports Empire and McIntosh apples to the UK, said export volumes to Britain and Ireland were already down 20% this season. The reduction comes in the wake of October's scare over Chile's use of the food wax morpholine unauthorised in the EU which coincided with the start of the Empire season and slowed down traffic to the UK and other EU markets.

Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association, said his growers had been willing to respond to market requirements such as not using morpholine. But he said price pressure from multiples, together with the increased costs of new market demands, could lead to exporters to the EU rethinking their options.