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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Curved produce

I got a message on my Flickr account from NowPublic.com asking for permission to use my carrot photo. The site is an OhMyNews-type crowd-sourced news aggregator, and I've gotten emails from them before. But I'm a little confused:
Just to let you know, NowPublic is running a news story on a
majority of EU members voting against the ban on curved
produce and your photo(s) would be an excellent addition to
a photo gallery we are compiling for the article.

An EU ban on curved vegetables? This seems unlikely. But what is more plausible that could have been mistyped as "curved"? Some Googling and checking of their site does not yield any answers...

5 comments:

hannah said...

No, it's totally true. There is an EU ban on curved vegetable. They have rules about curvature and size. It's always in the British papers, like Tesco being angry because they had to reject a whole shipment of tomatoes because they were a centimeter too small.

teague said...

Really? That seems totally ridiculous to me. I might prefer straight veggies, but to ban curved ones in all of Europe seems pointless.

But, according to my Flickr message, a majority of countries have now voted against this ban...

hannah said...

Yeah it's a big hullaballo over there from what i can judge. Because lots of markets (and thus, people all down the chain of production: farmers, etc.) are losing a ton of money over produce that is not quite perfect. The strict rules are of course, designed to protect consumer from wonky or sub-par stuff, but they are pretty ridiculously strict. I think part of the problem is that by nature, any kind of statute like this is a little arbitrary (the measurements are by millimeter, so we're talking very small differences between fruit that is deemed okay and fruit that isn't) and then when enforced strictly, the randomness gets even more exaggerated. Here's a BBC link about it, and I know there are more links out there (it seems like the Brits are the most upset about it):
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7457218.stm

lj said...

The fact that it's totally ridiculous makes it *more* likely that there's a gov't regulation about it, in my mind.

The BBC story was about a proposed loosening of the ban, the ban already being in place. So have a majority of countries voted against the ban or against the easing of the ban? Who's on first? (I couldn't find more recent stories on the BBC or NowPublic)

When we originally saw that BBC story, the most entertaining part to me was figuring out what aubergines and courgettes are (eggplant and zucchini -- I had no idea).

(speaking of the good Professor...(from the BBC most read sidebar))

teague said...

Some regulations are misguided, but I find that it's usually by way of unintended consequences, not that their intended purpose was foolish. But to me, this is definitely a misapplication of the regulatory tool -- regulations on consumer goods should be used to control things that have low visibility/transparency or are otherwise hard for the consumer to assess (or just an unjustified hazard of some type, e.g. trans fats). This regulation controls something that is not a hazard and easily visible to consumers -- if a kiwi is small or a cucumber curved, that is quite clear to you when you buy it...