Monday, 17 November 2008

Reprieve for bendy cucumbers

Just in case you missed it last week the EU will be removing or toning down many of its regulations regarding the size and shape of the fruit and vegetables we purchase. This, it should be noted, doesn't apply to all our greengrocery (such as apples for instance) and will not come into effect until next summer. Better late than never I suppose.

I was reminded that I wanted to write this piece in the blog when I read the 'Western Morning News' this morning. A regular Monday columnist is Kate Ironside, someone who is unashamedly pro EU, but to her credit is prepared to flag up its more barmy decisions. Like me she is pleased enough about the scheme to restore some commonsense into the world of buying fruit and veg. However she states that the regulations only came into being because the different countries had their own rules and with a uniform standard UK cucumbers could be sold in France, or vice-versa "without fear of falling foul of different national standards". H'm, if you say so Kate.

One of my biggest hobby-horses is the question of food waste and I feel it borders on the immoral if fruit or vegetables aren't available to buy for purely cosmetic reasons. Surely the shopper can decide for his or herself whether they are happy or not to purchase a slightly bent cucumber without having to be told whether the curvature merits it being Class 1, Class 2 or even beyond the pale! Someone in Brussels had to frame the regulations, others in this country (trading standards presumably) would then be responsible for making sure standards were being adhered to. All this using our money of course! Absolute madness.

At least the EU have started to own up to the stupidity of it all.

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