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EU tells the Welsh how to grow their leeks

March 2nd, 2002
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EU courts Welsh fury with leek rules (The Times, 1 March 2002, page 12)
The Welsh are upset that the European Union has chosen today, St David’s Day, to interfere with one of the national symbols of Wales, the common or garden leek. European Union rules intended to make leeks conform to international standards come into effect today, and yesterday Nigel Evans, the Shadow Welsh Secretary, … said he was aghast at the “insult” that the Principality’s national emblem should be regulated by Brussels in this unfeeling way on the country’s national day.

Dai to save our leeks – Anger as EU tells Welsh all the veg must look the same (Daily Express, 2 March 2002, page 36)
Eurocrats sparked outrage among the Welsh on St David’s Day yesterday by ordering that all leeks sold in future must look the same.

Taff on Welsh leeks (Daily Star, 2 March 2002, page 7)
Batty Eurocrats ruined St David’s Day yesterday – by telling the Welsh how big to grow their LEEKS. A crazy new ruling says greengrocers can only sell the vegetable if it is at least eight millimetres thick.

Rules have long been in place governing the quality of vegetables. Even before the UK joined the EU it had its own such rules. It seems strange that newspapers choose to ridicule an important and growing concern of many of their readers – that, is the quality of the food we eat. The actions of the EU – at the request of industry and retailers – reflect these concerns. Minimum standards are set to protect consumers so that they can be confident of the quality of the product they are buying. They also ensure a level playing field in the marketing of leeks.
In addition, bureaucrats in Brussels did not dream up these regulations. They have been agreed by national governments, including the UK, and will simply bring the EU into line with standards set out by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. It is purely coincidental that the regulation came into force on 1 March (St David’s Day).

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