WTR - GAMMA.docx - Written Team Report Should large chain...

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Written Team Report Should large chain supermarkets in the US be able to deny produce due to cosmetic undesirability? Gamma Group - Alyssa Liusie, Amrutha Santoshkumar, Talal Widatalla, and Zack Jenio October 18, 2016 1B Prevalent throughout history, man’s surplus of food has built the basis of advanced civilizations. The clear overabundance of food reveals the inefficiency of stages in our food system predestining
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1 Should large chain supermarkets in the US be able to deny produce due to cosmetic undesirability? valuable food into the dumpster rather than where it is needed. The food industry begins with abundant fields teeming with crop production, but once harvested, these crops are inspected to ensure the right aesthetics insisted by retailers. The standards set for produce, fruits and vegetables, are strict regarding shape, color, and size resulting in farmers discarding 20-40% of their harvest 1 . In order to form an opinion regarding supermarket’s set parameters that discard undesirable produce, science, environment, government and economics must be weighed. Food waste as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture is “the edible amount of food, postharvest, that is available for human consumption but is not consumed for any reason” 2 . Although the issue of food waste has been made aware, controversy surrounds the instigators and the feasibility of change. Due to consumer psychology, an indifferent government, devastating environmental effects and a loss of capital, change must be implemented within supermarkets’ cosmetic standards of produce. Cosmetic undesirability, or a product’s inability to reach societal product standards, accredits to 12% of produce lost from “farm to fork” 3 . Once a shipment of produce is denied by a large-chain supermarket, the manufacturer has no choice but to reload the stock and attempt to sell to another distributor. However, during the transportation process, produce can spoil due to improper handling techniques and lack of refrigeration 4 . To prevent produce rejection, farmers will often adopt the process of culling 5 , or the dismissal of products based on specific criteria. One farmer found that 75% of his cucumber harvest were deemed unmarketable due to deformations, and another reported having large 1 Lydia James, "From bins to bellies," New Internationalist , June 2014, ? p=GPS&sw=w&u=asdubai&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE %7CA369793683&asid=91d66fb39953d6db86e675965a108fb7 . 2 "Frequently Asked Questions." USDA.org, USDA OCE, 2016, 3 Dana Gunders, "Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill," NRDC Issue Paper B 12.06, 2012, 4 Ibid . 5 Dana Gunders, "Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill," NRDC Issue Paper B 12.06, 2012,
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