This afternoon, as I browsed through the produce department of Albertson's Supermarket in the metroplex of Dallas, Texas, trying to concentrate on my shopping list while speakers screamed and hawked products on sale, I was saddened to read a large sign posted over the broccoli:


Fruits and vegetables are waxed for freshness.
These fruits and vegetables have been coated
with food grade vegetable, petroleum, beeswax,
and/or Lac-Resin based wax or resin, to main-
tain freshness:

The sign then listed 25 fruits and vegetables
from Apples to Yucca Root.

The sign mentions "food grade vegetable, petroleum, beeswax and/or Lac-Resin." In other words, the food has been contaminated with one of the above. It reminds me of those big colorful envelopes I receive every month: YOU HAVE JUST WON ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: New Car; New Home; New Stereo; or $10,000 in cash. And with a little checking, you find out that the new stereo is a hand-held import measuring six inches across with a value of about five dollars. That's of course the prize. I would bet my bottom dollar that "food grade petroleum" is the "one of the above" wax of preference used in the majority of cases. Just what is "food grade" petroleum, anyway? Should we mix it with milk and give it to our kids?

We are led to believe that the bounty of nature would spoil unless treated with some synthetic product. What, pray tell, did our ancestors do all those years ago? Eat rotten potatoes?

Of course, some fruits and vegetables can be peeled. Apples, for instance. But we're told to eat apple skin as a form of roughage. Yet, to prevent chewing, swallowing and trying to digest motor oil, we must forego eating apple skin. No longer can we have a good old-fashioned baked apple, sizzling in its honey covered skin like Grandma used to make, because some oil based product may gum up our innards or clog our liver.

It seems to me that if vegetables and fruits were picked nearly ripe, shipped quickly to central distribution centers and put on display immediately, there would be little need for artificial chemical sprays to prolong their shelf life.

So, I ask, for whose benefit is this "freshness" treatment being done? Is it for the consumer? I don't think so! I wasn't asked. If I were, I'd say "No! I don't need to eat chemical wax today." Since we weren't consulted, I tend to believe it's entirely to improve the profit picture at Albertson's.

Bill Buchanan
Writer, Dallas, Texas
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