Statement: EC officials are trying to ban curved cucumbers to save money on packaging, and the only way to achieve this is through genetic engineering. This would result in a loss in quality and in taste. Furthermore Brussels is actually planning to introduce even more cucumber regulation.
Response: The Commission Regulation laying down quality standards for cucumbers (EEC 1677/88, 15.6.1988) has been in force for a number of years now, and there are no further changes being considered.
In fact there are no restrictions on the size, the shape and the curvature of cucumbers – the only restriction is on the class denomination, and as such cucumbers are categorised by class with reference to specific standards for each class, including the degree of curve. The reason for the “curvature” standard is that it is deemed an important determinant of the number of cucumbers that can be packed in a standard size box. It must be made clear that the demand for these standards came from the industry itself, and at a recent advisory committee representatives of the consumers and the trade fully endorsed the existing standard.
As regards allegations concerning the implementation of genetic techniques, it is apparent that certain seed companies are researching this field. However this is entirely their own initiative: the EC has nothing to do with this and does not intend to legislate in this area at all.