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Tag ‘fruit sizes’

Bananas and Brussels

Wednesday, September 21st, 1994

Myth: Curved bananas have been banned by Brussels bureaucrats, with shops ordered not to sell fruit which is too small or abnormally bent.
Sources: The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Express (21 September 1994)

Truth: Yes … and no. Curved bananas have not been banned. In fact, as with the supposed banning of curved cucumbers, the Commission regulation classifies bananas according to quality and size for the sake of easing the trade of bananas internationally.

Quality standards are necessary in order that people buying and ordering bananas can rest assured that what they are getting lives up to their expectations. Individual EU member states have tended to have their own standards, as has the industry (whose standards are often very stringent). The European Commission was asked by the Council of Ministers and the industry to prepare a draft regulation laying down EU quality standards, and this has been the subject of consultation for some time now. As such it represents a consensus position. The following points should be noted however:

1) These are minimal rules, applied solely to green, unripe bananas, rather than those destined for the processing industry.
2) These standards should improve the quality of bananas produced within the Community. They should thus be able to command a higher price in the Community markets. This should also help reduce Community aid and therefore relieve pressure on the Community budget.
3) Far from being an interference in trade these norms should facilitate it throughout the Community

Danish apples

Tuesday, November 10th, 1992

Myth: Danish protesters have been saying that EC regulations forbid the marketing of a favourite orchard product, the Ingrid Marie apple variety.

Truth: Apples are classified, for the purpose of freedom of movement and consumer protection within the EC, into two categories: “small” apples, which have a minimum diameter of 55mm; and “large” apples, with a diameter exceeding 65mm. According to the apple variety, these sizes allow consumers to be sure that the apples they buy have reached the necessary state of ripeness/ripening. However, Danish apples of the Ingrid Marie variety fo not easily fit these classifications, so Danish producers have rebelled agains the EC rules.

In July 1989, the Danish fruit producers association, the Dansk Ehvervs frugtavl, classified the Inrid Marie as “large” apples. However, half of the harvest did not reach the required size. It could therefore not be marketed normally and had to be sold to the processing industry. To solve the problem, a new “medium-sized” category of apples could be introduced, but this would entail an increase in the management costs ofplacing the apples on the market. A different solution to the INgrid Marie probelm is envisaged. The Ingrid Marie could be classified under the category of “small” apples, giving the producers the resposibility of guaranteeing that the apples are ripe when they are marketed.

EC in the UK

Check the EC Representation in the UK website

Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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