Portugal

Portuguese Food Co-op Fights Back Against EU-Mandated Waste

Baylen Linnekin speaks with Maria Canelhas from Fruta Feia, which has saved literally tons of great food from the garbage.

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Fruit
Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

Last month I traveled to Europe, where I spent a few days walking around the upward-sloping streets of Lisbon, Portugal, a city I'd last visited in 1994. Despite the country's economy having suffered a dramatic downturn in recent years, I was pleased to find a sense of vibrancy and hope—particularly among the country's younger generation—that I hadn't noticed much during my first and only visit 20 years ago.

Besides the people, one of the highlights of the trip was the city's food and drink. From Lisbon's delectable pastries, fantastic cafes, incredible abundance of fresh and tinned seafood, and excellent wine—including its port and vine verde—Lisbon's food culture helped make for a memorable journey.

During my time in Lisbon, I was fortunate to meet up with Maria Canelhas, a representative from Fruta Feia (or "Ugly Fruit"), a Lisbon-based group that exemplifies both the country's youthful hope for the future and its rich array of great food.

Fruta Feia, formed in 2013 by Isabel Soares, is a co-op that's fighting both inane EU food regulations and the food waste those regulations cause. The group pushes back against regulations that dictate the size and shape of fruit that can be sold throughout the EU. If fruit is misshapen, irregular, or fails to meet certain color guidelines, then the regulations state that it's not fit for sale. The rules, published in 2008, state that apples, for example, may not be sold if they have certain cosmetic "defects" in "shape" or "coloring." [See Correction Below]

At a time when the economic downturn means fresh fruits and vegetables are harder to come by for many—with small farmers struggling to make ends meet—and with food waste an enormous problem, these regulations couldn't be more idiotic and infuriating.

Fruta Feia combats the rules and the problems they cause by linking up farmers who have surplus produce that can't be sold under the regulations with consumers for whom high produce prices often prove to be a barrier to buying fresh fruits and vegetables. In doing so, Fruta Feia reduces food waste, puts money in farmers pockets that otherwise wouldn't be there, and helps fight food insecurity.

I'd first heard of Fruta Feia thanks to a fantastic New York Times profile of the group's work earlier this summer. I reached out to the author of the piece, Raphael Minder, who kindly put me in touch with the group's representatives.

I met up with Canelhas at an outdoor cafe around the corner from Fruta Feia's Intendente Square offices, where she and her colleagues were preparing to begin their August vacations. Canelhas brought me a bunch of irregularly sized grapes and two undersized melons as examples of the type of produce that would be barred from sale under the EU regulations. They were easily the freshest and best fruit I enjoyed during my trip.

What follows is a lightly edited transcript of Canelhas's email responses to a list of questions I provided her last month.

Baylen Linnekin: When and why did you start Fruta Feia?

Maria Canelhas: The idea to this project first came to Isabel in the beginning of 2013. When she was living in Barcelona she watched a few documentaries on the subject of food waste and became aware of this massive problem. So she started looking into it more and more, and spoke to an uncle of hers who's a farmer, and he told her that indeed he was throwing away a lot of good quality food because of these tight EU rules and the consumer's preferences. So she became unsettled about it, and decided to create this project and apply for Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation's Ideas of Portuguese Origin contest to have the means to implement it. The project won the second price and that helped us to kick-start Fruta Feia.

BL: What are the rules that prevent so-called "ugly fruit" from being sold in the EU?

MC: The regulation is Commission Regulation (EC) No 1121/2008, of 5 December 2008, amending Regulation (EC) No 1580/2007, laying down implementing rules of Council Regulations (EC) No 2200/96, (EC) No 2201/96 and (EC) No 1182/2007 in the fruit and vegetable sector as regards marketing standards.

BL: When were these rules adopted?

MC: ?As far as we know, ?the first regulation regarding marketing standards in the fruit and vegetable sector was implemented in 1981, defining standards for leeks. Initially, the standards were established for about 20 varieties of fruit and vegetables. Since then, the regulations have been amended and nowadays, with the current legislation—Commission Regulation (EC) No 1221/2008 of 5 December 2008—this number was narrowed down to 10 varieties.

BL: What is the purpose of these rules?

MC:  These rules basically group fruits and vegetables into classes, depending on the size?, ?colour? and other appearance characteristics (such as stains on the peel). Regarding fruits, you have class "extra," class I, and class II, and each of these classes have a minimum size, that's determined by the calibration standards. On another hand, you have classes grouping fruits according to their coloring. Regarding vegetables, you also have classes that group them according to their size (minimum callibration) and colour.

So what happens is that consumers started to prefer fruits and vegetables from the class "extra," class I, or class II with high calibrations. When noticing this trend, distributors and supermarkets started to buy from the farmers those classes only, leaving the ?others out. This explains the difficulty that farmers are facing trying to sell these fruits and vegetables, resulting in a huge amount of food waste. Nowadays, distributors and supermarkets aren't buying the less appreciated classes, so consumers don't have the choice to buy them, because this food isn't even arriving on the market.

BL: Do you know of other government rules (in Portugal, the EU, or elsewhere) that promote food waste or other environmental problems?

MC: There's the expiration dates' issue, that we suppose it's causing a lot of food waste, although we cannot tell you exactly what regulations apply to it. You have two types of labels, regarding the expiration dates of food products. You have "Consume before such and such date" and you also find "consume preferably up to such and such date."

Nowadays, a lot of products only have this last label. The issue here is that this label doesn't tell you exactly up to which date the product is actually good. It only tells you that it's best to consume it up to a certain date, leading people to think it's not good to be eaten a few days after. This helps increasing the food waste problem, because people are misled and driven to throw away food that is still good.

BL: How much food is wasted in Portugal because of the EU "ugly fruit" rules?

MC: There is no data about Portugal in particular. But in the European Union about 30 percent of the food that is produced by farmers is wasted due to aesthetic reasons. You can find this information in this European Parliament resolution.

BL: How much food has Fruta Feia helped save from being wasted?

MC: Since the startup in November 2013, and after 33 weeks, we've helped prevent 37.7 tons of food waste.

BL: Please describe a typical Fruta Feia farmer and a typical Fruta Feia customer?

MC: There isn't a typical profile of our farmers or our consumers. Fruta Feia Co-op is a very logical idea that people from different ages and social classes relate to.

We deal mostly with small-medium producers, although we work with a couple of big producers also. The majority of them are in the West region of Lisbon.

Fruta Feia associates are very different amongst themselves. We have college students, foreigners living in Portugal, families with kids, and old couples. But they all have a few characteristics in common: they're people who are aware of this social and environmental problem and who feel like they can and want to do something about it. They're also unsettled by these EU rules and they want to help farmers sell their "ugly fruit" because they know and understand that it's the same quality as the "pretty food." Also, they want to consume food that's produced locally and sold at a price that's fair both to farmers and to themselves as consumers.

BL: Do you sell fruits and vegetables to individual consumers only, or to restaurants, schools, and other customers as well?

MC: Since we're a Co-op, we have associated consumers, and not costumers. Usually we only sell to our associates, which are individual consumers. We do not work as distributors, although sometimes we're asked to sell small quantities for restaurants or events, which we occasionally do as long as it's done on the same days that we buy our products to the farmers and as long as the order matches one of the varieties that we're selling that week. Although this is done on a very rare basis, we would like to develop these kind of partnerships and start selling "ugly fruit" to schools, restaurants and other institutions.

BL: How does your work benefit consumers, farmers, and the environment?

MC: We allow consumers to buy local and cheaper. We benefit farmers by giving an economic value to their "ugly products" and making them sellable. And we benefit the environment through (1) valuing resources (water, soil and energy) that were previously used unnecessarily in the production of "waste," (2) the reduction of CO2 and methane derived from the decomposition of food that is not consumed, and (3) because we only buy fruits and vegetables that are produced in the West region of Lisbon, thus avoiding gas emissions due to transportation.

BL: Do you view Fruta Feia as a protest against food waste and against these specific EU rules?

MC: Fruta Feia's main goal is to fight food waste, although we also intend to raise awareness and to question the cause and impact of these rules to farmers, to the environment and to the consumer. We intend to help changing the consumption patterns that are causing this food waste problem and help educating people that the "ugly fruit" is the same quality as the pretty one.

Correction 09/04/14: I'm grateful to Maria for pointing out in an email to me that I didn't get the facts right here. "The EU regulations do not prohibit or dictate what fruits can be sold," she writes (I've added emphasis). "These regulations only group fruits and vegetables into classes, in order to label them when they're sold. What dictactes the products that supermarkets buy to the farmers is the consumers' preferences. Because consumers only bought class extra and class I, the supermarkets stopped buying products from other classes, which results in an incredible amount of waste to the farmers. 

"So part of our job at Fruta Feia is to push supermarkets and big distributors to buy these 'ugly products' again, by raising the awareness of consumers and overturn these preferences. We want to let consumers know that "ugly fruit" is just as edible and of good quality as the "pretty" fruit, so that we can put these products back on the market."

My mistake. Minha culpa.

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89 responses to “Portuguese Food Co-op Fights Back Against EU-Mandated Waste

  1. Ah, the first blog entry of the weekend.

    Gentlemen, and any theoretical ladies, START YOUR CRAZY!!

    1. The last non-repost of the week. 🙂

    2. Ok, here’s some from the Free Beacon.

      Remilitarize the World Police

      Our competitors and adversaries are not stupid. They understand that they have a little more than two years to take what they want without fear of an American response beyond stern words and financial penalties. They know that words are meaningless unless backed up by force. They know that financial penalties are easily undone.

      Every day brings another reminder that there is only one power with the ideals and capabilities required to preserve a liberal world order. Every day brings another reminder that there is?there was?only one global cop. And she needs to be re-militarized.

      Plus un-ironic use of Team America image.

      1. That makes about as much sense as a progtard screaming about Bush cutting the government. Neocons fucking suck.

      2. Apparently bombs don’t count if they’re blue.

        Apparently if the defense budget doesn’t double every 10 years, it’s a drastic gutting of funding.

      3. They have gone full retard. It is no longer possible to distinguish the neocon from their caricature. They have embraced the notion that they are warmongers and convinced themselves that being in a constant state of war is somehow the natural order of things. They honestly believe America’s role in the world is/should be that of global cop.

        Not sure whether to laugh at them or cry.

        I suspect, however, this line of thought will be their undoing as a serious political entity. I don’t think most people buy their nonsense.

    3. Bets on what time Mary shows up as MH?

  2. What’s going on with Portugal? First they decriminalize all drugs and now they want to decriminalize ugly vegetables.

    I think it’s time for a Free Country Project. It’s the New Hampshire of the Western world: small, laid back, close to a lot of other countries, and increasingly libertarian! Not only that, with its coast we can actually watch the U.S. sink into the sunset everyday. Put me down as pledge #1. When do we start the annual PortFest get together?

    1. I don’t know. We decriminalized ugly Supreme Court Justices and look where that got us. I’m leaning towards skepticism on this one.

    2. It’s on my list of potential places for international retirement. But I’m only 34, so I’ve got a while.

  3. Well there is waste and then there is waste. I rather have too much food in my fridge than just the bare minimum even if that means I’m going to throw some of it away.

  4. Jonah Goldberg is really a good writer.

    It’s a little bizarre how the Left has always conflated statism with modernity and progress. The idea that rulers ? be they chieftains, kings, priests, politburos, or wonkish bureaucrats ? are enlightened or smart enough to tell others how to live is older than the written word. And the idea that someone stronger, with better weapons, has the right to take what is yours predates man’s discovery of fire by millennia. And yet, we’re always told that the latest rationalization for increased state power is the “wave of the future.”

    That phrase, “the wave of the future,” became famous thanks to a 1940 essay by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She argued that the time of liberal democratic capitalism was drawing to a close and the smart money was on statism of one flavor or another ? fascism, Communism, socialism, etc. What was lost on her, and millions of others, was that this wasn’t progress toward the new, but regression to the past. These “waves of the future” were simply gussied-up tribalisms, anachronisms made gaudy with the trappings of modernity, like a gibbon in a spacesuit.

    The only truly new political idea in the last couple thousand years is this libertarian idea, broadly understood. The revolution wrought by John Locke, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, and the Founding Fathers is the only real revolution going. And it’s still unfolding.

    1. He continues

      Indeed, what’s remarkable about all of the states Lind identifies as proof that libertarianism doesn’t work is that they are in fact proof that it does. What made the American experiment new were its libertarian innovations, broadly speaking. Moreover, those innovations made us prosper. Even Sweden ? the liberal Best in Show ? owes its successes to its libertarian concessions.

      I’m actually not a full-blown libertarian myself, but it’s an ideal I’d like America to move closer to, not further away from as we’ve been doing of late ? bizarrely in the name of “progress,” of all things.

      http://www.nationalreview.com/…..h-goldberg

      1. “I’m actually not a full-blown libertarian myself,”

        Understatement of the day

        1. The Arbiter speaks.

          1. It’s a pretty big helping of chutzpah for someone like Goldberg who championed as bound to succeed the idea of a handful of arrogant intellectuals to invade a country half way around the world and build a new, liberal democratic nation where none had ever existed before there, to go on about the evils of rule by wonkish elites.

            1. I think in my adult life the two most significant big government follies have been the Iraq War/Nation Building and the ACA, nationalizing a sixth of our economy. Just as I think PB’s (or anyones) support for the ACA makes his libertarianism dubious, I think anyone who seriously thought and championed the idea we were going to go in and make democracy flourish in the Middle East should be taken with a healthy dose of suspicion.

              1. How dare this guy be right about this thing when he’s wrong about that other thing!

                1. He’s not even right about this thing. Technocratic rule by supposedly disinterested expert civil servants is a bad thing, but it’s not equivalent to rule by monarchs or popes.

                  1. He’s not even right about this thing. Technocratic rule by supposedly disinterested expert civil servants is a bad thing, but it’s not equivalent to rule by monarchs or popes.

                    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

                    I’d rather live under a Victorian monarch then our current government.

                  2. True, Bo. The monarch and the priest had a much better claim to governorship than the civil servant does today, if for no other reason than a better track record and a more restrained approach to governance. Not that I’d endorse either one, but one of the most obnoxious things about you is your utter lack of historical knowledge when juxtaposed with extreme condescension.

              2. A. You aren’t an adult. You are a spoiled child.

                B. When you become an adult, you will learn that it’s not an all or nothing proposition and you shouldn’t attack those who are championing your cause because they aren’t as pure as you’d like.

                The kernel has sprouted and Bo want’s to dig it up and throw it out because it isn’t yet a full stalk of corn.

                1. Just because I haven’t reached your Age of Wrinkles doesn’t mean I am not an adult.

                  When Goldberg gives a hearty mea culpa and recognition of his previous statism, like Barr did, then I’ll listen to him. It also would help to see him extol some libertarianism when his party is in power.

                  1. Just because I haven’t reached your Age of Wrinkles doesn’t mean I am not an adult.

                    You’re right. Being an adult has nothing to do with wrinkles.

                    Being an adult means realizing you aren’t always right and not arguing about inane bullshit as a child would. You are incapable of such and you don’t even possess the self awareness to realize you do it. IOW, a child. A spoiled, rotten, little imp, trying desperately to be a man and wondering why he fails miserably at it.

                  2. When Goldberg gives a hearty mea culpa and recognition of his previous statism, like Barr did, then I’ll listen to him.

                    Gotta love one that prizes principals over principles.

      2. When Hayek talked about the road to serfdom, it wasn’t just analogy or hyperbole.

        The corporatist movements (from neocons to progs, even to communists in practice) is basically just feudal society 2.0.

        It replaces warrior lords with technocrats and MBAs, but otherwise doubles down on the premise of the estates and their privileges.

        1. I think you’re reading too much into a useful rhetorical metaphor. It’s been a while since I read it, but Hayek’s RTS argued about the rule of technocratic central planners as a novel threat. Most of the book was about how this was the same ruling theory the Nazis had, just with different stated aims.

  5. http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..story.html

    Want better, smaller government? Hire another million federal bureaucrats.

    Derp. Derp. Derp. Derp so strong could only come from an academic.

    1. I suppose his position seems rational if you accept that the US Government needs to be so far up the ass of the American public that it is regulating the butter content of cookies sold in an Ohio elementary school.

      If the most efficient Total State is your goal then it makes sense that you will a requisite number of enforcers to bring it off. This guy’s understanding of “smaller government” apparently begins and ends with it’s budget size.

  6. As someone that has grown and grows some of his own veggies,apples,blue berries and black berries,they are not uniform in there shape and size.Most depends on the weather that year.They are still tasty.Oh,I don’t buy the whole ‘organic b.s.’I’ve never eaten fruit or veggies that were non carbon based.

    1. About 2/3 of what I grow is not “pretty”, but it sure cooks up good. At the top of this list are tomatoes, we save a few of the most cosmetic ones for salads and giving away, and the rest goes into the sauce pot.

      This one takes EU regs to a new level, beyond silly and into the realm of immoral.

      1. Most of my tomatoes have been devoured by giant green tobacco worms this year, fuck.

        1. BT kills tomato hornworms dead.

          Trust me, I know!

  7. i read the headline and understood “EU says you can only sell good looking fruit” I read the article and it said “consumers only like to buy good looking fruit”…what am i missing?

    1. That’s what’s confusing to me too. The article doesn’t make clear whether there’s a substantial class of produce that can’t legally be sold at all, in addition to not making the preferred grades, or whether it’s only a matter of foods not making the preferred grades.

    2. This is actually a significant issue in the US, that Americans buy with their eyes and not their noses or fingers or experience. As a result, we wind up with beautiful red Delicious apples with no taste, but a gnarly golden russet which tastes like spiced cider is only to be found at a few farm stands. Tomatoes likewise have been bred for color and shipping suitability, and flavor has been lost. Don’t even get me started on California strawberries.

      1. …Americans buy with their eyes…

        Very true.

        Businesses try very hard to sell the customer what they want. People want pretty food.

        The upside to this little fact, is if your local produce market has a discount bin for ‘ugly fruit’, you can get some good deals. Keep an eye peeled.

      2. Many of the small growers in San Diego county are now growing heirloom varieties that actually taste like strawberries. After years of growing strawberries for size, color, and shipping durability, they are now growing a variety that tastes like a strawberry should taste. You either have to get them at the farm stand (on the actual farm) or some of the farmers’ markets around the county have them. Don’t trust fruit stands that sell a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, they get their produce at the same place the grocery stores get theirs.

    3. There are EU regs on ugly fruit and veggies. Bananas can’t be too small, zucchini have been rejected for not having the right shape or color, etc.

      Which came first, I do not know. I suspect they enhanced each other.

      1. Which is it, regs that say the fruit with those characteristics don’t make the grade, or that they can’t be sold at all, legally? I wish somebody would be clear about this, as it makes all the difference.

        1. The story I read was about illegality, specifically British grocers having to dump food to avoid a fine and/or jail.

        2. I studied in Holland in 2009, and one of our guest lecturers mentioned condescendingly that the EU regulated the proper shape of cucumbers.
          So not about consumer preferences, at least not solely.

  8. Government publishes detailed instructions on how to safely roast marshmallows

    Or substitute the chips for blueberries from the local farmer’s market.

    Nothing to cut!

    1. “Some experts advocate a 10-foot rule between young children and a campfire,” it reads.

      Huh?

      Finally, the article gets down to “marshmallow basics,” and starts by recommending the use of a roasting stick “of at least 30 inches.” That’s two and a half feet, or about half as long or more as the children roasting the marshmallows.

      The article doesn’t recommend a maximum length for a roasting stick.

      I wonder if the person who wrote that went home and hung themselves…

      1. Nope. They celebrated their bonus at a fancy steakhouse.

  9. Moonbeam decides the voters can afford to buy votes for the Ds:

    “Gov. Jerry Brown appealed a court ruling that struck down tenure and other job protections for California’s teachers,”
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/…..722247.php

  10. Since this is the food thread, how about some deep fried tequila shots:

    http://www.ohbiteit.com/2014/0…..shots.html

  11. Members of Congress and blue-ribbon panels calling for cuts in the federal workforce are missing the real problem. We don’t need fewer federal workers; we need more of them ? a lot more. More direct public administration would result in better, smarter, more accountable government.

    Holy shit- speaking of faith-based initiatives.

    1. More direct public administration would result in better, smarter, more accountable government.

      You can’t fool *me*, P. That’s from The Onion.

  12. So Europe has several problems. On the one hand, hordes of immigrants are literally raping Europe’s future. On the other hand, regulators are constricting the apple market.

    Which of these two stories do you think reason will cover?

    1. Look, if Reason started writing articles that examined some of the more complicated aspects of immigration it might get, uh, complicated, which is something nobody wants. Better to gloss over that stuff with goodfeel and sloganeering and worry about it later.

      That said, there is no reason why they can’t or shouldn’t talk about both.

      1. “That said, there is no reason why they can’t or shouldn’t talk about both.”

        One of these stories is an existential threat which involves European children being raped my immigrant invaders. The other involves fruit regulations.

        Reason has essentially become a cog in the progressive media. They refuse to cover stories which don’t fit the progressive narrative.

        1. Reason has essentially become a cog in the progressive media

          Breitbart’s over that way, dude.

        2. One of these stories is an existential threat which involves European children being raped my immigrant invaders. The other involves fruit regulations.

          The real story there is about political correctness, government corruption, and ineptitude, along with a healthy dose of the hideous perverse incentives of the modern welfare state.

          1. You’re right Virginian. The story of immigration and race is a totally separate story from the story of a group made up of exclusively Pakistanis immigrants raping a group made up exclusively of Britons.

            Derp indeed.

            1. You wouldn’t happen to be judging an entire group for the actions of a few would you?

              1. I wonder if he has a final solution to the problem.

                1. And straight to Godwin. Yep, being distressed by the fact that someone’s little girl was abducted and held in sexual bondage for months or years by Pakistani immigrants, and all the while the authorities knew about it and refused to act because “diversity” is pretty much exactly the same as advocating for mass genocide, amirite?

                2. I wonder if he has a final solution to the problem.

                  Did I say “death camps”? I meant “happy camps”.

                  1. “Did I say “death camps”? I meant “happy camps”.”

                    I take it your daughter wasn’t gang-raped by Pakistani immigrants?

                    1. Look fuckstain, you are taking an incident and claiming an entire group is no good because of the actions of a few.

                      That’s like claiming all protestants are cannibals because Jeffrey Dahmer was a protestant.

                      Logic, how does it work?

                    2. “Look fuckstain, you are taking an incident and claiming an entire group is no good because of the actions of a few.”

                      I don’t remember claiming that. This is what happens when I start drinking at 10 am.

                    3. Also, “incident”, haha.

                      “Sir, we believe that what happened to your daughter was an, ahem, isolated incident.”

                    4. I don’t remember claiming that.

                      If you are so self unaware you can’t see how your argument is taking the actions of a few and applying that as the norm for an entire community…then my initial response is completely justified as you are simply a babbling idiot.

                      …derp

                    5. “your argument is taking the actions of a few and applying that as the norm for an entire community”

                      Douse that straw man with gasoline and set it on fire! Also, throw in a “derp” and maybe a Nazi reference or two! Then, tut-tut me about the proper use of logic. All without any apparent sense of irony.

                      “Reason” ftw!

                    6. “tut-tut…idiot.”

                      Sir, I am overcome by the brilliance of this response. I am now willing to offer up my 2 year old daughter to be a sex slave to Pakistani immigrants, in the name of diversity, and freedom.

                      Derp in-fucking-deed.

                    7. Look fuckstain, you are taking an incident and claiming an entire group is no good because of the actions of a few.

                      Well, I have a hard time believing a mass pedophile ring could operate for years, with the knowledge of the authorities, without anyone else in their insular immigrant community knowing.

                      So, yeah, I have some questions here that are somewhat collectivist in nature. I understand the motivations of the authorities who allowed all this to happen: a combination of PC multi-culti BS, and the fact that these Paki communities are the hard-core voter base that keeps those authorities in power.

                      What’s the excuse of all the other people in the immigrant community who knew about this and did nothing?

                      The next question becomes: OK, if allowing mass immigration opens the door to mass child rape, what do you do about it? If your top priority is keeping girls from being gang-raped (and I suggest it should be), perhaps your immigration laws become a valid means to that end?

                    8. What’s the excuse of all the other people in the immigrant community who knew about this and did nothing?

                      What are they supposed to do? The cops are in on it, and it’s illegal for peasants to own guns.

                    9. “So, yeah, I have some questions here that are somewhat collectivist in nature.”

                      You’re a raycisss!!!

                      — Francisco D’Anconia

    2. There is nothing wrong with immigration per se; it’s a good thing for any state, in particular one as senile and sclerotic as Europe. The problem Europe has with immigration is related to its massive system of government handouts and redistribution. That system tends to attract people in search of free stuff. The solution is not to stop immigration, the solution is to stop the handouts and redistribution.

      In different words, Europe really only has one problem after all, but conservatives and progressives each project their own misguided world views onto Europe.

      1. “The problem Europe has with immigration is related to its massive system of government handouts and redistribution.”

        Well that. And the rape. Can’t forget about the rape.

  13. That’s from The Onion.

    Close.

    WaPo; now with even less self-awareness!

  14. The real story there is about political correctness, government corruption, and ineptitude, along with a healthy dose of the hideous perverse incentives of the modern welfare state.

    NEEDZ MOAR CENTRAL GUVT BUREAUCRATZ

  15. my neighbor’s mother-in-law makes $85 /hr on the computer . She has been laid off for six months but last month her income was $18685 just working on the computer for a few hours. see this site……..
    ============== http://www.netjob70.com

  16. There is no data about Portugal in particular. But in the European Union about 30 percent of the food that is produced by farmers is wasted due to aesthetic reasons. You can find this information in this European Parliament resolution.

    The fact that nearly 1/3 of produce produced in Europe is against the law to sell and goes to waste is fucking staggering.

    Where are the environmental fucks with this shit?

  17. This reminds me that in the early 1990’s I used to volunteer at a local soup kitchen in Redondo Beach, California. It was located at a Church of the Brethren which I lived next to. There was, just like today, a drought in California that was causing much of the stone fruit in the Central Valley area to not grow to a size that the FDA considered large enough to sell or even give away. The fruit otherwise was fine for eating – just too small. So, the perfectly fine but small fruit was rotting in the orchards. One of the others who volunteered at the soup kitchen had a relative who owned a peach orchard so some of us went and got a truck load of too-small-for-the-FDA peaches and served them at soup kitchen. From talking to the other volunteers I knew that most of them were on the left politically. I remember that a few had a moment of cognitive dissonance because they wanted to feed the poor but also believed that the government must be correct in not wanting the fruit made available and we should not serve the peaches. Thankfully, that later opinion did not win out.

    I also remember that soup kitchen declined a government grant because to receive the money we would have had to report stats on the racial, gender, age, etc. mix of those served. Sadly, my recent experience in volunteer work has shown me that my fellow volunteers who are on the left are now too willing to defer to the government bureaucrats in situations like what I described above.

    1. …”I remember that a few had a moment of cognitive dissonance because they wanted to feed the poor but also believed that the government must be correct in not wanting the fruit made available and we should not serve the peaches.”…

      I’m hoping that the result was either a new distrust of the government, or exploded heads.

  18. If fruit is misshapen, irregular, or fails to meet certain color guidelines, then the regulations state that it’s not fit for sale.

    This is false.

    All those regulations describe requirements for quality classifications (Extra, Class I, Class II etc.). The result is simple – pretty much any grocery in Europe sells only ‘Class II’ apples. Higher classifications do not exist as no one bothers verifying all the requirements.

    Of course, this is a great example of pointless regulation but I’m not sure what exactly those Portuguese guys are fighting against.

    1. Sorry, but you’re wrong. These aren’t simply labels, the classifications tell you whether a product is “marketable”.

      There is no “Etc.” in that list either; if produce doesn’t meet at least class II requirements, it may not be offered for human consumption in the EU.

  19. Living in Portugal and didn’t know about Fruta Feia. Thank you for letting me know!

  20. First they came for the leeks. And I didn’t speak up because I don’t like leeks. Then they came for the Brussels sprouts. And I didn’t speak up because I don’t like Brussels sprouts. And when they came for the apples, everybody had already died of coronary heart disease and there was nobody left to speak up.

    (I do feel bad paraphrasing a totalitarian creep and opportunist like Niemoller, but I suppose it fits the subject matter.)

  21. Olivia . you think Elaine `s st0rry is inconceivable, last week I bought a top of the range Ariel Atom since I been earnin $9671 thiss month and-over, ten-k this past-munth . it’s by-far the most comfortable work Ive had . I began this six months/ago and immediately began to bring in more than $71, per hour .
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  22. Sebastian . I just agree… Helen `s artlclee is astonishing, I just bought Chevrolet when I got my cheque for $6747 this-last/month and would you believe, ten k last-month . without a doubt it is the nicest work Ive had . I actually started 8-months ago and straight away made myself over $78, p/h .
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