The British government has announced its decision to abandon an “absurd” EU rule regarding the sale of abnormally curved bananas. Environment Secretary Therese Coffey made the announcement during the Conservative Party conference in Manchester. Coffey stated, “Bent or straight, it’s not for the government to decide the shape of bananas you want to eat.”
The EU regulation in question, known as 1333/2011, mandates that bananas sold within the union must be free from “abnormal curvature of the fingers,” except if they originate from designated areas in Cyprus, Greece, or Portugal. The regulation was frequently cited by pro-Brexit politicians and commentators as an example of overreach by the “bonkers Brussels bureaucrats” prior to the 2016 Brexit referendum.
This rule on abnormally curved bananas is not the only EU standard that has been mocked by critics. Other examples include an 1,800-word directive related to marketing standards specifically for headed cabbages and a ruling that prohibits bottled water manufacturers from claiming that their product can relieve dehydration.
Interestingly, even after almost four years since Britain formally left the EU, the “bendy bananas” rule is still on the UK’s law books. Originally, it was intended to be dropped along with all other remaining EU laws by the end of this year. However, the government changed its course in May and announced that it would evaluate residual EU laws on an individual basis.
As of May, there were more than 4,000 such laws still in effect in the UK. This decision to keep some EU laws drew criticism from Brexiteers, who argued that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak should have scrapped all 4,000 laws instead of just 800. The majority of these laws pertain to the environment, which means that Environment Secretary Therese Coffey is now responsible for determining which laws to keep and which to discard.
Coffey did not explicitly state whether every EU law under her responsibility would be dropped, but she did express her intention to challenge “green zealots” who advocate for the cessation of livestock rearing and replacing it with fake meat. She also announced plans to remove restrictions on genetically modified crops.
In conclusion, the UK government’s decision to abandon the EU rule on curved bananas highlights the ongoing process of reassessing and reviewing EU laws following Britain’s departure from the union. This move reflects a broader attempt by the government to assert its sovereignty and exercise greater control over regulations and standards within the country.