Dole Begins To Market Organic Bananas
The world’s largest producer of fresh fruit and vegetables plans to import organic bananas to the United States. A policy that began Feb. 1, California-based Dole Foods Co. will start selling bananas grown on organic farms in Ecuador and Honduras. The company will begin selling the fruit only on the West Coast, but the bananas will be available on the East Coast this spring, said Marta Maitles, Dole spokeswoman. “We’re testing the waters and seeing what the response is from customers,” she said.
According to standards recently announced by the USDA, certified organically grown food cannot be produced using genetically altered crops, sewage sludge, irradiation, artificial growth hormones or certain pesticides. Organic food proponents tout the products as safer for human consumption and the environment because fewer chemicals are used during growing or processing.
Dole began researching consumer demand of organic products about two years ago, choosing to sell organic bananas about a year after marketing a variety of prepackaged organic salads. The company plans to sell the fruit not only in specialty grocery stores, but also at large grocery chains.
Dole competitor Chiquita Brands International has no immediate plans to sell organic bananas under its own label, a Chiquita company official said.
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