**The Giving Table Book Club is currently reading The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan. It's easy to join, simply visit our discussion group over on Goodreads!
As a Walmart employee in Michigan in 2010, Tracie McMillan went through the standard employee training program. In Produce Operations, she learned that "produce is a living commodity, rapidly approaching its demise, and the produce section is nothing less than an expansive life-support system."
The singular goal is presenting the food as fresh, regardless when it arrived at the store, and boosting sales in the process. Even one of her coworkers admitted that "Wal-Mart doesn't always have the freshest stuff. That's how we keep the prices low."
Produce is perishable, and that's true whether it's distributed by Walmart or Whole Foods, but I do think intention matters. If its manual trains employees to administer life-support to its lettuce as a first line of defense, it leaves little room for confidence that the produce itself was respected and well cared for during the transportation process from the farm to Walmart's shelves.
It definitely makes shopping at a major grocery store less appealing, doesn't it?
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