Mon, 11 Dec 2023

UK to finally scrap EU bendy bananas rule
04 Oct 2023, 08:13 GMT+10

Brussels? bizarre food standards were ridiculed by British conservatives in the runup to the Brexit vote

The British government will ditch an "absurd" EU rule on the sale of abnormally curved bananas, Environment Secretary Therese Coffey announced during a Conservative Party conference on Monday.

Speaking at the Tories' annual get-together in Manchester, Coffey declared that "bent or straight, it's not for the government to decide the shape of bananas you want to eat."

EU Regulation 1333/2011 dictates that bananas sold in the union must be free from "abnormal curvature of the fingers," unless they come from designated areas of Cyprus, Greece, or Portugal. Prior to the 2016 Brexit referendum, the rule was cited by pro-Brexit politicians and pundits as an example of overreach by "bonkers Brussels bureaucrats."

Other such examples include an 1,800-word directive on marketing standards for headed cabbages, and a ruling forbidding manufacturers of bottled water from claiming that their product relieves dehydration.

Despite widespread mockery of the 'bendy bananas' rule, it remains on the UK's law books almost four years after Britain formally left the EU. It was set to be dropped along with all remaining EU law by the end of the year, until the government reversed course in May and said that it would instead evaluate residual EU laws one by one.

More than 4,000 such laws remained on the books as of May, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was criticized by Brexiteers for opting to scrap only 800 at the time. The majority of the 4,000 laws related to the environment, meaning that Coffey is now responsible for which ones are scrapped and which are kept.

She did not state whether every EU law under her purview would be dropped but said on Monday that she would also take aim at "green zealots who think our farmers should stop rearing livestock and instead we should eat fake meat," and would remove restrictions on genetically modified crops.


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