Should Supermarkets Sell Pre-Peeled Fruit?

Why a wry tweet about produce set off a debate about packaging, disability, and the environment.

Image via Twitter user @awlilnatty

Fruit, as they say, is nature’s candy. An apple or banana fits neatly into your hand, and comes packaged in its own perfect wrapping, to keep its sweet insides from contamination and the withering effects of rot. This is why consumers have been expressing dismay and amusement over Whole Foods’ decision to sell fruit with the peel already removed, necessitating wasteful plastic packaging.

Last night Nathalie Gordon, a London-based advertising creative, tweeted a picture showing pre-peeled oranges in plastic containers. “If only nature would find a way to cover these oranges so we didn’t need to waste so much plastic on them,” she wrote. Her keen, snarky observation garnered cheers—in less than a day, the line has been retweeted more than 60,000 times.

“Have we gotten that lazy and crazy that we can’t even peel our own orange?” read one reply to Gordon’s tweet. “The insanity never stops.”

The supermarket chain, noticing the backlash against the seeming absurdity of its product choice, was duly chastised, coming back at Gordon with a promise to stop selling oranges in this way. “Definitely our mistake,” Whole Foods’ Twitter account replied. “These have been pulled. We hear you, and we will leave them in their natural packaging: the peel.”

A Whole Foods spokesperson told the Huffington Post regarding the incident, “A lot of our customers love the convenience of our cut produce offerings, but this was a simple case where a handful of stores experimented with a seasonal product spotlight that wasn’t fully thought through.”

I mean, can you imagine? Peeling oranges just to end up using extra plastic, which chokes our seas, leeches into our food, and pollutes our beautiful planet? Ridiculous.

Or is it?

Soon after Gordon’s tweet blew up, the backlash to the backlash began. As Mashable points out, Twitter users began chiming in to alert Gordon and others riding her lollercoaster that many people have difficulty peeling fruit on their own. While this packaging choice might not, in fact, be aimed at those people, Twitter users explained, they still benefit from the convenience of products—ludicrous as they might seem at first—like pre-peeled fruit.

In response to Whole Foods’ announcement that it would stop selling the pre-peeled oranges, one Twitter user pleaded, “Please dont. A lot of ppl with disabilities like arthritis see them as a lifesaver, and don’t appreciate the ‘joke.’” “I'm so sorry you've decided to do that,” another user told Whole Foods. “I have rheumatoid disease and it’s often impossible to peel an orange.”

So surely this exchange of ideas would result in a rational back-and-forth, weighing the relative responsibilities and needs of both marginalized communities and the environment, right? Haha, right. This is some of the discourse that followed:

As someone who both suffers from painful arthritis (my hands hurt typing this right now) and likes to consider himself an individual who gives a shit about the environment, I can really see both sides of the issue. On a large scale, this kind of packaging contributes to terrible habits, a culture that puts convenience before conservational prudence, and the trashing of Earth. On the other hand, can’t we find ways to contribute to a healthier planet that don’t negatively impact the lives of marginalized people? Shouldn’t everybody be able to enjoy fruit? Just because someone is afflicted with a trying medical condition, or born different, they shouldn’t be cut off from accessing fresh produce.

I don’t know what the answer is here. One thing’s for sure, though: Individually packaging unpeeled bananas in Styrofoam trays is probably not helping anyone.

Photo via Twitter user @nikolaibeilharz

via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

Keep Reading Show less
via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

Keep Reading Show less
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet