How long must your banana be? Well, according to the current EU regulation, anything shorter than 14 cm is unworthy of sale. (I’ll save you all the conversion…that’s 5.5 mushy inches.) Pears are a different story. They must have perfect skin free of all blemishes in order to be deemed good enough for European markets. Okay, what happens to the rejects?
Approximately 20 percent of farm produce in Europe goes to waste because it is not pretty enough. Organic farmers, such as Patrick Holden of west Wales, have had their produce rejected for ridiculous reasons unrelated to safety, including being too knobbly, small, or curvy. Who doesn’t want a curvy cucumber?
Many European growers and sellers hope that after today, buyers will be allowed to choose their fruits and vegetables based on taste and quality rather than appearance. EU agricultural officials are expected to abolish the twenty-year old law that all produce must look presentable. With the economic crisis hitting European households hard, British Conservative MEP Neil Parish wants the “crazy rules” thrown out. “To stop stores selling perfectly decent food during a food crisis is morally unjustifiable.”
While 26 fruits and vegetables may be freed from future landfills today, 10 others, including bananas, apples, and tomatoes will still have to obey the rules of perfection. Am I the only mother who would pay more for a bunch of child-sized half bananas? What is wrong with this world? Next time your kids are getting impatient on your grocery run, why not challenge them to find the ugliest fruit and vegetable they can.
By the way, this morning on Toronto’s Breakfast Television my kids and I learned that the original colour of the carrot was not orange. The wild carrot (not so tasty apparently) was experimented with until it matched the Dutch royalty colours. Leave a comment if you think you know what the original carrot colour was. No Googling!
Image: flikr user karenwithak under a Creative Commons license.
[This post was written by Tara Benwell.]