UK government decides to keep EU ‘bendy bananas’ regulation despite Brexit

Morrisons said the move will save 180 tonnes of plastic a year (Morrisons/PA) ((Morrisons/PA))
Morrisons said the move will save 180 tonnes of plastic a year (Morrisons/PA) ((Morrisons/PA))

European Union regulations on bendy bananas will be staying, the UK government has revealed, despite Brexit giving the country the opportunity to disregard them.

The rules were due to be automatically scrapped from the UK statute books at the end of this year before the Government’s U-turn on the wholesale repeal of EU legislation earlier this week.

The Government is getting rid of a planned “sunset clause” that was due to automatically scrape EU regulations from UK law by the end of 2023, unless they were specifically chosen to be kept.

Instead, the Government will specify the exact regulations it wants to remove or reform. And, the rules for bananas have not been earmarked as among those to be taken out.

EU regulations for bananas say the fruits have to be “free from malformation or abnormal curvature”. They add that the bananas should have their “stalk intact, without bending, fungal damage or desiccation” and be “free from pests”.

The bendy banana rules were drawn up by the European Commission in 1994 and codified in 2011, The Telegraph reports.

Under the regulation, “extra” class bananas must be “free from defects”, while class 1 bananas can have “slight defects of shape” and class 2 bananas are allowed to have “defects of shape”.

The controversy about the EU determining which bananas Brits could consume started during the Brexit campaigns.

During his Vote Leave campaigning, Boris Johnson had said: “Absolutely crazy that the EU is telling us how powerful our vacuum cleaners have got to be, what shape our bananas have got to be, and all that kind of thing.”

The idea that the EU was determining the shape of the UK’s bananas is now known to many as a Euromyth, which is an exaggerated or invented story about the European Union.

The Government has said that it will retain the powers to scrap former EU regulation – which means it could liberalise or otherwise amend rules relating to the shape of bananas in the future.

The Government has published a list of nearly 600 bills that will be scrapped imminently as part of the Retained EU Law (REUL) Bill, according to The Telegraph.

A total of 500 are set to be scrapped as part of other legislation, and 1,000 laws have already been repealed or altered. By the end of this year, less than half of the promised 4,800 laws will be gone.