Yellow, Popular, and Not Long for Our Shelves
Ripening prices, disease will make bananas exotic again
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Jun 18, 2008 9:32 AM CDT
This file photo shows a worker at a banana plantation in Colombia. The Cavendish banana comes from Latin America, and is sold around the world despite its short shelf life.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – With prices pushing the $1-per-pound mark, the banana's days as an American staple fruit are numbered, Dan Koeppel writes in the New York Times. “That bananas have long been the cheapest fruit at the grocery store is astonishing,” he notes of the exotic, quick-to-rot fruit, which is cheaper than homegrown apples despite enormous transportation costs.

The trick is banana companies’ iron-fisted control of Latin America's suppliers and low-wage employees. “Over and over, banana companies, aided by the American military, intervened," Koeppel writes. But Americans may soon have to forgo the fruit fave: A virulent strain of Panama disease could wipe the most common variety out in the next decade, putting an end to the controversially cheap staple.