Consumers in Europe are likely to increasingly see fruit and vegetables with less than perfect appearance (the so called “wonky” produce) on their supermarket shelves from July 2009 as the EU tries to reduce its bureaucracy
Attractive and wholesome fruit and vegetables like these feed the world but have, over the last few decades, lost their place in the “First World’s“ supermarkets to perfectly shaped and coloured specimens. Through the supermarket pushing “quality” and bureaucrats busying themselves, visual standards gained a status that has had negative impacts for the consumer, the farmer and the environment. The European Union is well known for the banana standard which, after a year of study, stated that a banana should be “5.5 inches long and 1.1 inches wide, and could not be abnormally bent”. This allowed the EU to advantage bananas from the Caribbean (mainly its former colonies) that met the standard to the disadvantage of Latin American producers who were backed by USA based multinationals. Rulings by the World Trade Organisation and the threats of the US lead to a truce with the tariffs being removed progressively. But now regulations on 26 fruits and vegetables have been repealed while member states can allow the sale of 10 other products which do not meet the standards, so long as appropriate labeling is used.