Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Attempt at EU-wide 'wonky fruit and veg' ban fails

Carrots and parsnips
Vegetables do not have to be beautiful to taste nice, the Lib Dems say

An attempt to reinstate a European Union-wide ban on wonky and discoloured fruit and vegetables has failed.

A group of Euro-MPs tried to bring back "uniform standardisation parameters", forbidding the sale of straight bananas and curly cucumbers among other items.

But the proposal was defeated in the European Parliament, amid arguments that it would increase food wastage.

Liberal Democrat Euro-MP George Lyon said: "The shape of a fruit is irrelevant to its taste and nutrition."

Marketing standards for 26 types of produce were scrapped by MEPs in November 2008, in a drive to cut EU bureaucracy, with misshapen fruit and vegetables coming back on sale in the UK last summer.

'Eccentric laws'

This happened after it was revealed a fifth of produce had been rejected by shops across the EU because it failed to meet the requirements.

Some Spanish Euro-MPs tried to bring the ban back by tabling a motion to that effect this week, but it was defeated on Thursday.

Finally we can put the nonsensical wonky fruit ban to bed
Alyn Smith, Scottish National Party

Opponents argued the move would be pointless and wasteful, with Conservative Richard Ashworth calling it "morally unjustifiable".

After the vote, Mr Lyon said: "Eccentric laws about bendy bananas and curvy cucumbers lead to food wastage and exasperation with the EU."

He added: "We cannot have these laws return through the backdoor, and Parliament was right to strike this down."

Scottish National Party Euro-MP Alyn Smith said: "Finally we can put the nonsensical wonky fruit ban to bed.

"This issue should never have come back to life after the [European] Commission removed the restrictions last year and I sincerely hope we won't see another resurrection any time soon."

The 26 types of produce which had the ban removed in 2008 were: apricots, artichokes, asparagus, aubergines, avocadoes, beans, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflowers, cherries, courgettes, cucumbers, cultivated mushrooms, garlic, hazelnuts in shell, headed cabbage, leeks, melons, onions, peas, plums, ribbed celery, spinach, walnuts in shell, water melons and witloof/chicory.

But the rules remain unchanged for 10 types of produce, accounting for three-quarters of EU fruit and vegetable trade.

They were: apples, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, lettuces, peaches and nectarines, pears, strawberries, sweet peppers, table grapes and tomatoes.

Have you bought ugly or wonky fruit? We'd like to see your pictures of fruit and veg that might be aesthetically challenged.

Send your pictures to, text them to 61124 or if you are outside of the UK +44 7725 100 100.If you have a large file you can upload here.

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