Friday, November 14, 2008
EU regulators have agreed to remove more than 100 pages of legislation relating to the size, shape, appearance, and texture of food. The International Herald Tribune reported this week that European Union authorities hope that abandoning these regulations (against curved cucumbers, for example) will soften criticism of the EU. Stores will no longer have to discard food simply because it looks strange. The new measure (which is to take effect in 2009) will eliminate much-criticized rules such as maximum requirements for the curves of bananas and cucumbers (Under Commission Regulation 2257/94, bananas must be “free from malformation or abnormal curvature,” while under Commission Regulation 1677/88, Class I cucumbers were allowed to bend only 10 millimeters per 10 centimeters of length, and Class II cucumbers could bend twice as much.)
Not all foods are covered. In a compromise measure, standards will remain on 10 types of fruits and vegetables (including apples, citrus, peaches, pears, strawberries, and tomatoes). But even foods in these categories will be allowed to be sold, provided that they are marked as being substandard or intended for cooking or processing. It was hard to defend the food regulations when food had become so expensive, and stores were being forced to throw away food simply because it curved too much. Stephen Castle, “In EU, It’s a ‘New Dawn for the Curvy Cucumber,” International Herald Trib., Nov. 13, 2008, at 7.