EU Restrictions on Shapes of Fruits and Vegetables

An amazing article on the BBC website today: Will we eat wonky fruit and veg?

Starting in July, the European Union (EU) is lifting regulations that stop vendors from selling oddly-shaped fruits and vegetables. These regulations have been in place for 20 years. For example, it is against the law to sell a carrot with two “legs”.

In the interests of avoiding waste, these regulations are being lifted for 26 fruits and vegetables (but remain for 10). An article in the Telegraph says: “An estimated 20 per cent of the British harvest is thrown away to comply with the EU regulations, rules which have been calculated to add as much as 40 per cent to the price of some vegetables, such as carrots.”

The quality of fruits and vegetables sold in Europe is usually much better than what we find in most shops in the US (although we do have great farmers’ markets with locally grown produce). We seem to have almost the same vegetables no matter what the season, but many European countries follow the “eat local and in season” food philosophy. However, I do argue with people who say all fruits and vegetables are better in Europe. In the English supermarkets you find many packaged out-of-season fruit and vegetables from southern countries just like we have from California. Same in the large supermarkets in France and Italy. But, in Europe, you more easily find good local farmers’ markets or small food shops with local produce. In the US you have to hunt a bit more for great vegetables.

Vegetables
Vegetables from Stroud Farmers’ Market

The reason that I find this article amazing is because I am stunned that they had these regulations. We probably have similar ones in the US (I have not seen many two-legged carrots), but I thought the EU would be better than that!

The photo above is from our shopping at the Stroud Farmers’ Market (Cotswolds, England) last January. Look at those fabulous root vegetables! We ate very well during our two winter months in England. (No potatoes are shown because our landlord left us a huge bag of potatoes from her organic farm – so we never had to buy any.)

Other Articles about These EU Regulations

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Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.

One thought on “EU Restrictions on Shapes of Fruits and Vegetables”

  1. I happily eat wonky produce. I do however soak it in salt water to make sure all the wonky is vegetable. Did you know you can do an initial wash using green clay (argilla verde) to remove residual poisons? It’s the Italian official position on cleaning foods, that is, and the world’s largest deposit is in either Wisconsin or Wyoming– a W state anyway. Thought I would just drop by and tell you that… lol

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