Conservative MP Sir Teddy Taylor has dismissed a EU directive over the size of peaches intended for sale as "ridiculous bureaucratic nonsense", threatening the trigger a disagreement between the UK government and the European Union.

Between 1 July and 31 October, any peach sold within the member countries of the European Union should, according to the directive, be at least 56mm (2 ¼ inch) in diameter. 

Sir Taylor, MP for Southend East and Rochford, pointed out that the directive was a waste of time and resources. It is likely, he said, to mean that tonnes of peaches are destroyed because they don't make the size grade, a move that will come "at great cost to the taxpayer". 

Besides, he argued: "It should be up to the customer what size of peaches he wants to buy."

Environment officials have met with retailers to discuss the directive, but have revealed that they will wait and see if organic fruit should also measure up before they consider mounting a challenge to the European Commission.