Wednesday

17th Jul 2019

Wonky fruit to return to EU shops

  • Strict rules on the shape or fruit and vegetables that can be sold in the EU were lifted on Wednesday (Photo: Fabrizio Federici)

Legislation restricting the sale of imperfectly shaped fruit and vegetables will be assigned to the compost heap of history on Wednesday (1 July) as repeals to controversial marketing standards that became synonymous with Brussels heavy-handedness come into effect.

"This marks a new dawn for the curvy cucumber and the knobbly carrot," said agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel in anticipation of the move.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"It's a concrete example of our drive to cut unnecessary red tape. We simply don't need to regulate this sort of thing at EU level. It is far better to leave it to market operators."

The new dawn for avant-garde avocados and knobbly sprouts comes after EU member states agreed last November on commission proposals to scrap strict shape requirements that restricted the sale of cucumbers which curved more than 1cm for every 10cm of length.

The rules will no longer apply to 26 agricultural products but will remain in place for ten others. Wonky variations of these ten can also be sold however, provided they are labelled to distinguish them from their more perfect ‘extra', ‘class I' and ‘class II' cousins.

The fully de-shackled 26 are: apricots, artichokes, asparagus, aubergines, avocadoes, beans, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflowers, cherries, courgettes, cucumbers, cultivated mushrooms, garlic, hazelnuts in shell, headed cabbage, leeks, melons, onions, peas, plums, ribbed celery, spinach, walnuts in shell, water melons, and witloof/chicory.

The ten types that will require special labelling before they can be sold in their more twisted formats currently account for 75 percent of the value of EU trade in fruit and vegetables.

They are: apples, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, lettuces, peaches and nectarines, pears, strawberries, sweet peppers, table grapes and tomatoes.

Prices to fall

The news has been well greeted by shops and consumers groups alike, who now hope the extra produce will enable sellers to lower their prices.

Up until Wednesday's repeal, roughly 20 percent of all fruit and vegetables had to be rejected by sellers on the grounds it did not meet EU requirements.

British supermarket Sainsbury's is among those who have lobbied the commission strenuously in recent years to scrap the marketing standards.

"By being able to sell more wonky fruit and veg, we can help cash-strapped Britons save even more on their weekly shop and help farmers use more of their crop," said one of the store's managers, Lucy Maclennan, reports the Daily Mail.

A number of shops have said they intend to sell the newly allowed wonky fruit at significantly lower prices.

Analysis

Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts

The first-ever female president of the European Commission wants half of her team of commissioners to consist of women. But most of the commissioners put forward so far by EU member states so far have been male.

EU proposes yearly rule-of-law 'reviews'

EU states ought to undergo a yearly "Rule of Law Review Cycle" to help stop countries such as Hungary, Poland, and Romania from backsliding on EU norms, the European Commission has said.

Analysis

What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?

The vote on von der Leyen showed the fundamental change in EU politics. The rise of the European Parliament, the power of political parties, and the fragmentation of politics, are new realities to be taken into account.

Finland rejects call to end sponsorship of EU presidency

Appalled over Coca-Cola sponsoring the recent Romanian EU presidency, MEPs have asked Finland, the new holders of the rotating post, to put an end to such practices. But Helsinki, whose presidency is sponsored by BMW, has no such plan.

Analysis

What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?

The vote on von der Leyen showed the fundamental change in EU politics. The rise of the European Parliament, the power of political parties, and the fragmentation of politics, are new realities to be taken into account.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts
  2. EU proposes yearly rule-of-law 'reviews'
  3. Poland 'optimistic' despite new EU law checks
  4. What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?
  5. Is Golden Dawn's MEP head of a criminal organisation?
  6. Finland rejects call to end sponsorship of EU presidency
  7. MH17 five years on: when will Russia be punished?
  8. EU commission has first-ever woman president

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us