On Wednesday EU Nations voted in favor of a proposal made by the EU Commission to repeal harsh marketing standards for 26 fruit and vegetables types, currently banning them from supermarket shelves if they are oddly shaped or over-sized.
Under current standards, implemented over 20 years ago and often critiqued as evidence of the EU’s push to regulate everything, a Class 1 green asparagus needs to be green for 80 per cent of its length, Class 1 cucumbers must not be bent by a curve of over ten millimeters per ten centimeters, and a string of onions needs to have 16 onions to meet the requirements.
New rules will allow for the legal sale of fruit and vegetables, like asparagus, carrots, cherries, cucumbers, melons and onions, in supermarkets across Europe regardless of their shape and weight.
The scrapping of such standards will help consumers save money and farmers will be able to increase the sales of their harvest, thus decreasing food waste and lowering prices.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said ‘We simply do not need to regulate this sort of thing at EU level. 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’.
‘This marks the new dawn for the curvy cucumber and the knobby carrot,’ Boel added.
Marketing standards will, however, remain in place for around ten fruit and vegetable types, like apples, strawberries and tomatoes. The changes will be officially implemented by the EU commission on July 1, 2009.