Comedy carrots look set to make a comeback to European supermarket shelves. Member states of the EU are due to vote on throwing out some of the most joked-about regulations ever to emerge from Brussels. Standards for minimum size and shape which set the curviness of a cucumber, the bend in a banana, or the rotundity of a radish have now been deemed “unnecessary” by the European Commission.
Commission spokesman Michael Mann said: “At the moment, there is still a lot of waste because if apples or carrots or whatever, don’t meet the standards, some time they are even thrown away which is in this period of high food prices, seems a completely stupid waste to us. So in the future, when this vote will happen, then people will be able to sell apples, cucumbers, pears, carrots, whatever size they are, whatever shape they are, as long as they are good quality food.”
EU diplomats say the need for rules to control the look of fruit and veg has diminished, primarily because the supermarket giants have the power to impose their own standards on growers and suppliers.
Farmer David Dejong said: “At the moment in modern agriculture it’s a bit like that, commercially things are pretty much the same size – but at the same time we’re losing ancient varieties and seeds, working with hybrids.”
26 types of fruit and vegetable are due to be freed from the shackles of size and shape constraint, but there will still be standards for ten, including apples, pears and tomatoes.