Knobbly Fruit and Veg Back on Menu as EU Plans to Scrap Uniformity Laws
Brown, Colin, The Independent (London, England)
For years, the bent cucumber - beside its maligned compatriot, the straight banana - has been wielded by Eurosceptics eager to clobber the European Union. But Brussels bureaucrats are to usher in a new age of acceptance when it comes to knobbly fruit and vegetables, scrapping the rules dictating that only straight cucumbers can be sold in shops as "class one" fruit.
Misshapen and blemished fruit and veg are likely to find their way back on to supermarket shelves - although they may be labelled "for cooking" under reforms being proposed by the EU's Danish Agriculture commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel.
"People [are] saying that prices are too high, [so] it makes no sense to be chucking food away. We want to have two classes, allowing supermarkets to sell funny shaped vegetables," said Michael Mann, a spokesman for the European Commission.
Ms Fischer Boel wants to abandon the eccentric rules that brought scorn on the EU and led to criticism that perfectly formed harvests had been achieved at the expense of taste. The rules have created some enduring myths, such as the fiction that bent cucumbers are banned - in fact, under EU regulations, cucumbers with an arc of more than 10mm for every 10cm of length cannot be sold with a premium class one label. Other rules also specify the diameter of carrots that can be sold as class one, unless they are officially regarded as baby carrots.
"We currently have a book of 36 regulations that don't need to be so complicated," said Mr Mann. "So we are planning to have a basic rule which makes sure that what you are getting in the shops is not dirty, diseased or rotten, and only have specific rules for the main things like apples, peaches, pears and strawberries." He said the EU Commission wanted to dump 26 rules originally intended to lay down quality standards, including "the famous cucumber one".
"It's been rather silly," he said. "We are always being criticised for being too complicated and this is one of the areas where we felt we could make a real improvement."
Agriculture ministers led by Britain's Hilary Benn have welcomed the …
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Publication information: Article title: Knobbly Fruit and Veg Back on Menu as EU Plans to Scrap Uniformity Laws. Contributors: Brown, Colin - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: June 16, 2008. Page number: 12. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.