Brussels: In the European Union (EU), carrots must be firm but not woody, cucumbers must not be too curved and celery has to be free of any type of cavity. This was the law, one that banned overly curved, extra-knobbly or oddly shaped produce from supermarket shelves.
But in a victory for opponents of European regulation, 100 pages of legislation determining the size, shape and texture of fruit and vegetables have been torn up. On Wednesday, EU officials agreed to axe rules laying down standards for 26 products, from bananas to peas to plums. In doing so, authorities hope they have killed off regulations routinely used by critics—most notably by media in the UK—to ridicule the meddling tendencies of the EU.
After years of news stories about the permitted angle or curvature of fruit and vegetables, the decision on Wednesday also coincided with the rising price of commodities. With the cost of weekly supermarket visit on the rise, it has become increasingly hard to defend the act of throwing away food just because it looks strange.
The changes come into force from July when standards on the 26 products will disappear.
©2008/International Herald Tribune