European consumers can look forward to cheaper and weirder looking produce in their supermarkets from July 2009 as the European Commission decided earlier this month to abolish rules on the size, shape and texture of fruits and vegetables. The ruling is expected to cut down on waste caused by an estimated 20 percent of “non-conformist” farm produce – things like mutant eggplants and gnarled, grizzly carrots. The deregulation concerns a list of 26 fruits and vegetables such as apricots, artichokes, asparagus, eggplant, avocadoes, beans and brussels sprouts, reversing a system which has been in place for the past two decades. However, existing rules will still apply to 10 items – including apples, pears, citrus fruit, strawberries and tomatoes – which account for three quarters of all fruits and vegetables sold in the EU. These items can be sold in their mutant varieties but only if they are labelled as such
France was among fifteen of the 27 members states which opposed the decision, arguing that it would incite big supermarket chains to instigate their own norms.
via Les Echos