Don’t let dust cloud your judgment: Tesco urges shoppers to buy sandy veg

Windows and cars were not only the things coated by the recent Saharan dust cloud that made English skies glow orange: supermarkets are urging shoppers not to turn their noses up at dusty peppers and lettuces.

Tesco has put up signs in its produce aisles advising customers that a small amount of dust had settled on its Spanish crops. Spain, which is a major produce supplier to the UK, bore the brunt of the storm, with iceberg and little gem lettuce, celery and peppers among the affected crops.

The residue was “nothing to be concerned about”, Tesco said, adding that customers should just wash their fruit and vegetable before eating or cooking “as usual”. By continuing to buy the fresh produce, shoppers would be “supporting our growers and preventing food waste”.

When the dust cloud, which was travelling about 1.2 miles above ground level, reached the UK a fortnight ago, a red or orange tinge was visible in the skies above Sussex, Kent and London.

The Met Office said the unusual effect was the result of a phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering from additional particles in the air. Dan Stroud, one of its meteorologists, said the dust in the atmosphere “caused the light to be more refracted, so you get the dominance of the red and orange tinges of the spectrum”.

Some dust also settled here after it rained; when it evaporated motorists reported finding their cars and windscreens covered in ochre-coloured blobs.

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