Tomato: A Fruit or A Vegetable – A Legal Concern

In 1887, U.S. tarriff laws imposed duty on vegetables, but not on fruits. This caused tomato’s status as a fruit or a vegetable to become a matter of legal importance.

Botanically, tomato is a fruit, but the use of this food item in daily life was parallel of that of vegetables.

This went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where this controversy was settled on 10 May 1893 by declaring that the tomato is a vegetable, based on the popular definition that classifies vegetables by use, that they are generally served with dinner and not dessert. This also brought tomatoes under the classification of being taxable.

Thus legal speculation in the United States, majorly led toward the Tomato: a Fruit or a Vegetable Controvery we all know today.


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