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Inner quality returns

Curvy cucumbers and knobbly carrots return to supermarket shelves tomorrow throughout Europe thanks to the abolition of European Union (EU) rules on the size and shape of 36 types of fruit and veg. For 20 years EU-wide marketing standards have ensured that only the finest-looking produce reaches the shops. But to reduce red tape and bureaucracy – and make cheaper fruit and vegetables available as household bills rise – Eurocrats are lifting unnecessary restrictions.

Lorraine Wheaton, head of category planning for produce at WalMart’s UK Asda stores, said: “At Asda we hate to see perfectly good food go to waste and, where possible, we use the ugly fruit and vegetables in some of our prepared foods to eliminate waste.

“The relaxation of the laws mean that we can bring in more fruit and vegetables which, in return, means cheaper prices for customers.”

She added: “Currently fruit and vegetables are classed according to their looks. Customers are paying through the roof for a class 1 onion when a class 2 onion is just as good, especially if they both end up in your spaghetti Bolognese.”

Organic food is about inner quality, not outer appearance – that is its hallmark. Fresh, local and seasonal is better then a bland but cosmetically perfect piece of fruit or veg. The abolition of the perfect produce rules will create huge opportunities for everyday people to buy cheaper organic produce that’s just as good, if not better.

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