|Since I wrote
about the Kiwi fruits which had to be destroyed for being
1/25th inch too short and the EU's cucumber fetish, the
Brussels behemoth has decided that the regulations were
all a bit much - well, not all of them, but the majority.
Newspaper editors had fun with their headlines, which
included, "Brussels sprouts new rules for vegetables,"
"EU finally lets veg shape their own future,"
"Lanky leeks welcomed back," and "EU
ban on knobbly fruit and veg to be 're-peeled.'"
Don't rush out to buy misshapen veg just yet, as it
will still be a criminal offence to supply them until
next summer. Punishment can be up to six months in prison
or a £5,000 fine. It makes me wonder how we have allowed
ourselves to be enslaved to this degree and in so many
Mariann Fischer Boel, the European commissioner for
agriculture, said, "In these days of high food prices
and general economic difficulties, consumers should
be able to choose from the widest range of products
possible. It makes no sense to throw perfectly good
products away, just because they are the 'wrong' shape."
It was clearly OK to do so over the past twenty years
while countless millions of people in the world starved
Many people in the EU fought the change in law. A spokesman
for an Italian farmers' association, CIA, said:
"Today's decision is an extremely serious error
that unfortunately penalises Italian producers, along
with those in other Mediterranean countries such as
Spain and Greece."
The same article states that, "the United Kingdom
and other, largely northern European, countries had
lobbied for the repeal of the regulations, with British
supermarkets claiming they had to throw away some 40%
of edible fruit and vegetables because of visual flaws
under the EU rules."
A German farmer celebrates the EU ruling
According to the Times,
"One branch of Sainsbury's had planned to sell
“zombie brain” cauliflowers and “witches' fingers” carrots
for Hallowe'en this year until it found out that individual
managers could face prosecution.
"Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association,
which champions organic produce, said that his own organic
carrots grown in the hills of west Wales were rejected
by Sainsbury's for being “too wonky” two years ago.
“This will be a fantastic step, especially for organic
growers,” he said. “We are about inner quality, not
to the EU, the ten products which will still be
subject to regulations: apples, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit,
lettuces, peaches and nectarines, pears, strawberries,
sweet peppers, table grapes and tomatoes, could also
sidestep standards rules if they are sold with an appropriate
label, for example, to indicate they are suitable for
So there we have it: less interference from the EU
and less food wasted (cheaper prices?) so a good deal
all round, unless you're Italian...
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