Wonky Fruit Ban Fights Back In Brussels

22 March 2010
Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish member of the European Parliament's powerful Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, has declared his strong opposition to any renewal of the EU's controversial fruit and vegetable marketing rules on standard sizes and shapes.

The Parliament votes in plenary this week on the Scotta Report on agricultural quality policy, which includes a demand for the return of specific marketing standards for 26 varieties of fruits and vegetables. This would see fruits and vegetables which do not meet stringent requirements on size, appearance, weight, quality and even colour banned from sale.

Several Spanish MEPs have campaigned to bring them back. Smith has submitted an amendment, opposing this demand.

Smith said:

"As much as the old state of affairs was never as bad as people made out - most fruits and veg which didn't meet the standards were not wasted, but processed into jams and pies - it was a triumph for common sense when the Commission got rid of these rules last year: not only were they unnecessary and added extra costs, they were also outdated.

"Basic health standards, such as a lack of pests and rottenness, will remain in the general marketing code: the consumer will remain protected from the real dangers, so it seems superfluous to have formal legislation on purely appearance matters. I am determined to fight this agenda wherever it rears its head, and the fight starts on Thursday."

Smith has also submitted an amendment which calls for mandatory place-of-farming labelling for produce. The vote takes place on Thursday.