Tesco Is Telling Shoppers Not To Worry About Dirty Produce

It goes without saying that shoppers like their produce to look fresh. After all, grocery stores in the United States even go out of their way to spray their fruits and vegetables so customers will be more likely to purchase them. But have you ever seen a supermarket encourage its patrons to buy up dirty-looking produce?

This might seem out of the ordinary, but that's precisely what Tesco is doing. The UK-based supermarket chain has been selling dusty fruits and vegetables, but instead of pulling these items off the stands, it's been putting up signs in its produce aisles.

What is Tesco saying on these signs? The chain is encouraging customers to wash the fruit and veg products before eating, and thanking them for helping its growers and reducing food waste by continuing to purchase this less-than-pristine produce, as seen in a photo shared by The Guardian. But, contrary to what you might think, the grocery retailer actually has a good reason why its produce is not looking as clean as usual.

Why Tesco is selling dirty produce

The dusty items in Tesco's produce aisles are not an accident but rather the result of a natural phenomenon. In a statement from the company, a representative stated that a "small amount of dust" has settled on some of its Spanish crops and that it should not be a concern. As with the signs in the aisles, Tesco's official recommendation is that customers wash their fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking, just as they normally would (via Express).

The dust hails from Africa, where a sandstorm in the Sahara Desert drifted north into Europe and covered much of Spain, including its farmlands, in a layer of thick red dust mid-March. The same sandstorm also tinged the skies in other European countries like Switzerland and the U.K. (via The New York Times).

Britain gets much of its produce from other countries, mostly from the European Union. 45% of the country's vegetable supply is imported, as are 84% of its fruits. With Spain being a major produce supplier, this means when sandy winds blew through the Iberian country, many growers for British grocery chains like Tesco were impacted. Among the crops affected by the Saharan dust are iceberg and little gem lettuce, celery, and peppers, per The Guardian.

But Tesco is not the only supermarket chain putting up signs about its dusty produce. Express reported that similar signs have been seen in Aldi stores.