Spanish attempt to reinstate European Union ban on wonky vegetables fails

An attempt to give wonky produce the chop and reinstate a European Union-wide ban on "non-standard" fruit and vegetables has failed.

Spanish MEPs had tabled amendments to the Scotta report on agricultural quality policy demanding that strict rules on the size and appearance of some fruit and vegetables be reintroduced.

Their move came less than a year after EU marketing standards were amended to allow 26 types of produce to take their place on supermarket shelves, even if they fell short of perfect proportions.

The MEPs' proposal was defeated at the European Parliament last month, amid arguments that it would increase food wastage.

NFU chief horticultural adviser Phil Hudson said: "We were aghast that some MEPs were aiming to re-introduce these standards when we should be reducing the burden of regulation, not increasing it."

However, he added that the current situation was far from as clear cut as had been suggested. It seems that while the EU may have allowed all shapes and sizes, that has not meant that the supermarkets have stocked them.

Hudson added: "In the UK the removal of the marketing standards for fruit and vegetables has had no discernable impact. Indeed, it's the multiple retailers that establish the criteria for the type of products supplied to them by their growers. We believe that consumers should be allowed to decide whether they want bendy bananas or wonky fruit."

Ten types of fruit and vegetables including apples, tomatoes and strawberries were unaffected by last year's standard changes.

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