Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Consumers get the last laugh.

So, the European Union commissioners finally decided that dictating what our fruit and veg should look like is 'not in their remit' according to their spokesman today.

As a result soon it will once again be legal for (some) fruit and vegetables ro be sold to you and I even if they don't quite 'measure up' the the EU ideal.

It's only taken twenty years of corny headlines and poor jokes in The Sun every time funny fruit is banned from sale or furious headlines in 'The Mail' on the rare occasions when Trading Standards have upheld the ruling and prosecuted some hapless greengrocer to get these people to wake up and recognise the resentment and ill-will such rubbish creates.

This miniscule sign is that the EU commission is beginning to reconsider it's scope and role is welcome ; but it doesn't alter the main issue which is that unelected civil servants came up with these daft proposals and unelected civil servants will remove them.

And although this law has resulted in millions of tons of perfectly good fruit and veg going to animal feed or compost it is nothing when compared to the criminal waste of perfectly good fish that is occurring every day on our seas. Due to some equally daft fishing net restrictions millions of fish are being tossed, dead, back into the sea every day because having caught them by accident, it is illegal for fishermen to land them.

If the EU want to deter catching small immature fish to preserve future stocks the best way of doing it is to deprive the fishermen of the profits, this could be done by the compulsory purchase of undersize fish at a loss-making price, these fish could then be sold or given away by the EU to poorer countries whose population need the protein. Surely anything is better than simply tossing them back into the sea?

But then the day the EU comes up with such a logical solution to any of our problems will be the day that I eat my hat.

Well if you insist; my special hat-shaped pumpkin.


Anonymous said...

...and which country was it that insisted on these rule when it joined the then Common Market? not the UK suely not!

Marcus Wood said...

Which rule? The fruit and veg thing was introduced 20 years ago; long after we joined - so I am not sure what you mean.

The fish net sizes regulations are also a relatively recent development. I agree with the aims, we need to save young fish to preserve future fish stocks; but this daft rule does not do that.