In Europe, Irregular Produce Makes A Comeback

Curvy cucumbers and knobbly carrots will be back on sale across Europe. i i

Curvy cucumbers and knobbly carrots will be back on sale across Europe on Wednesday after the European Union scrapped a law banning misshapen fruit and vegetables. Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association via AP hide caption

itoggle caption Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association via AP
Curvy cucumbers and knobbly carrots will be back on sale across Europe.

Curvy cucumbers and knobbly carrots will be back on sale across Europe on Wednesday after the European Union scrapped a law banning misshapen fruit and vegetables.

Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association via AP

Bendy cucumbers, knobbly carrots, puny cauliflowers and naked onions are among 26 misshapen fruits and vegetables that will make their way to supermarkets Wednesday after the European Union rescinded a two-decade-old regulation in an attempt to end what it calls unnecessary marketing standards.

The Brussels-based EU has maintained that ugly produce is unworthy of the marketplace, and it has been throwing out nutritious but unsightly food.

Diana Henry, author of Pure Simple Cooking, food columnist for the Sunday Telegraph and host of her own TV cooking show, says she is "thrilled" with the new decision.

"I think it's great," Henry tells Robert Siegel. "I'm just sorry that they've taken regulations away from 26 fruits and vegetables, but there ... [are] still 10 that ... [are] going to be scrutinized.

"I would quite like it if they could also be ... de-regged."

Apples, citrus fruits, lettuce and bananas are among the fruits and vegetables still covered by the rules against misshapen produce.

"Bureaucrats are telling us what's a perfect peach, and I think that a perfect peach is actually a very elusive thing, and it doesn't always have to do with how it looks at all," Henry says.

She says she is convinced that the EU bureaucrats in Brussels are bored and "don't know what to do with their time." But, she adds, the rules against misshapen produce are followed more stringently in some EU member states than in others.

"I have to say that the problem in Britain with this is that we seem to me to be quite law-abiding," she says. "I go to France and I go to Portugal, and they don't care what shape their tomatoes are, and they don't care what shape their cucumbers are.

"They seem to think, 'Well, it's just laws and we'll break them.' That's quite the Mediterranean spirit in a way, but in Britain we tend to slavishly follow [the rules]."

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