Britain will finally scrap “absurd” EU rules on the sale of bendy bananas almost four years after leaving the bloc, the Environment Secretary has announced.
Therese Coffey told the Tory conference that the much-ridiculed Brussels regulations, which became totemic in the Brexit debate, will be wiped from the statute book.
It comes after Rishi Sunak faced criticism when the contentious red tape was not included on a list of European laws destined for the scrapheap earlier this year.
Ms Coffey said the move was part of efforts to “help farmers and rural businesses by making the most of our Brexit freedoms, freedom from European rules”.
She told delegates in the main conference hall: “We’ve already legislated to allow gene editing so that we can design crops that are fit for the future.
“My officials are cutting red tape and introducing smarter regulation. Frankly, bent or straight, it’s not for the Government to decide the shape of bananas you want to eat.
“I just need to assure you that they are safe to eat. So, we will be dropping absurd regulations including the one on bendy bananas.”
Coffey to champion British meat
The rules, which were much mocked by Brexiteers in the run-up to the referendum, stated that the fruits have to be “free from malformation or abnormal curvature”.
It does not completely ban the sale of bananas that are deemed too bendy but it does restrict their sale to certain categories, affecting their price.
In her speech Ms Coffey also took aim at “green zealots who think our farmers should stop rearing livestock and instead we should eat fake meat”.
She said “fake meat may be OK for astronauts” – in an apparent reference to lab grown steaks in space – but she will champion British reared produce.
Her remarks came as Kemi Badenoch, the Business Secretary, announced a review of Britain’s regulators to identify new post-Brexit freedoms.
The three-month investigation will identify red tape to cut at 90 rule makers, which cover most of the economy and cost £5 billion a year to operate.