In an article published on March 30, 2017 the non-profit organization Foodwatch raised the question why many fresh organic food products sold in supermarkets, e.g. cucumbers, are pre-packaged in plastic and not sold unpackaged like the corresponding non-organically-grown varieties.
It might seem absurd to pre-package food that is produced in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way and thus make it contribute to plastic waste, Foodwatch noted. However, the plastic packaging has its purposes: According to EU rules, conventional and organic produce must be distinguishable at the point of sale to prevent fraud, Foodwatch explained. This can be achieved by packaging one or the other. Packaged organic produce can then be labelled as organically-grown and -certified. Another advantage is that plastic packaging can extend the organic produce’s shelf-life.
Foodwatch pointed out that there are alternative ways to clearly keep conventional and organic produce apart, such as stickers (used e.g. for bananas), printing (used e.g. on eggs), or laser marking, which is currently being trialed on e.g. avocados and sweet potatoes (FPF reported).
Foodwatch (March 30, 2017). “Waarom zitten bio komkommers in plastic?” (in Dutch)