Wonky Veggies Welcomed Back Into the EU

A 20-year rule regulating the shape of produce is now being lifted in the European Union. Now, shoppers can find the hilarity in two-legged carrots and twisty cucumbers.

36 vegetables now have the freedom to be ugly, reports the Times Online:

The intention is to lower the price of fresh food and to cut red tape for growers and importers.

Retailers estimate that prices for misshapen and blemished produce will be about 40 per cent lower.

Now, even in a recession, no one has an excuse to refuse when asked to “Eat your vegetables!”

However, some produce must still adhere to strict rules.


Of course at the top of that list are bananas. (I know you were worried about bananas!) The cukes can be any ol’ shape, but the bananas must still be bendy. Or more specifically: β€œthe thickness of a transverse section of the fruit between the lateral faces and the middle, perpendicular to the longitudinal axis, must be at a minimum of 27mm (1.06ins). Er?

The Grade 1 and Grade 2 classification system will, however, still apply to the ten products, including apples, tomatoes, strawberries, grapes and pears, that account for 75 per cent of the sales of fresh produce.

Those foods can only be sold if they’re marked “for cooking”.

Here’s how the rule changes break down. The Oldies and Funnies:

  • Class 1 cucumbers must be β€œpractically straight” and their maximum bend must be at a gradient of no more than 1/10
  • Carrots must not be forked (with more than one root). They must be smooth and regular. If they are less than 20mm (0.79ins), they must be called β€œearly” carrots.
  • A bunch of grapes must not weigh more than 1kg
  • An onion can only be sold if two thirds is covered in skin

And now? Fruits and vegetables that can be sold in any shape or size: apricots, artichokes, asparagus, aubergines, avocados, beans, Brussels sprouts, carrots cauliflowers, cherries, courgettes, cucumbers, mushrooms, garlic, hazelnuts, cabbage, leeks, melon, onions, peas, plums, celery, spinach, walnuts, watermelons, chicory.

Fruit that will continue to be graded (but can be sold in misshapen form for cooking): apples, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, lettuces, peaches and nectarines, pears, strawberries, sweet peppers, table grapes and tomatoes.

So while it’s great that the cost will go down, we should also cheer for less food waste. Because there will be fewer three-toed carrots heading to the rubbish heap.

Image: Brettf on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

4 thoughts on “Wonky Veggies Welcomed Back Into the EU”

  1. I’ve heard from Australian friends that this is happening there too. Not only is it great for the farmers, for reducing waste, and keeping costs down. It just makes life more interesting.

  2. Growing up in Ireland we used to grow some of our own veggies or swap with our neighbors. They were all shapes and sizes but tasted as they should. I guess the govt. thought a 2 legged carrot didn’t look appetizing!
    Glad to hear this.

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