Mishappen fruit and vegetables could be back on the menu after Brexit
The size, shape and appearance of fresh fruit and vegetables is governed by Brussels diktats stipulating everything from how red apples should be to how much russetting is allowed on a pear.
Altogether there are 367 pages of rules, totalling 175,000 words on the subject.
Despite campaigning by chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, supermarkets still feel the need to reject wonky carrots and knobbly potatoes fearing customers will not buy anything other than “perfect” produce.
Now Environment Minister George Eustice has refused to rule out repealing the EU legislation on fruit and salad too.
Answering a parliamentary question on the subject he said: “As we prepare to leave the EU, we are looking at removing rules that are unnecessarily burdensome, focusing instead on what works best for the UK.
“We want our farmers to grow more, sell more and export more British food, whilst upholding our high standards for the environment.”
The size, shape and appearance of fresh fruit and vegetables is governed by Brussels diktats
Mr Eustice added that although “no decisions had been made” in relation to individual pieces of legislation, including EU Marketing Standards for fresh fruit and vegetables, a full consultation would be carried out.
This enables farmers to break free from over-prescriptive red-tape
Former international development minister Grant Shapps, who asked the question, said: “I had always imagined EU jokes about bendy bananas were for rabid Eurosceptics only but it actually turns out there really are hundreds of thousands of words of EU directives aimed at shaping our fruit and veg.
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Brexit could help British farmers to escape the red-tape
“This is serious stuff because enabling our farmers to break free from over-prescriptive red-tape really can provide the UK with a Brexit dividend when we leave.
“I was therefore pleased to see that ministers do seem to be imagining a world where our fruit and vegetables will be able to grow naturally and this could give the UK a competitive advantage in the future.”
Up to 40 per cent of a crop of fruit or vegetables can be discarded because it does not meet the EU’s cosmetic standards or the aesthetic requirements of supermarkets.