UK: EU tells ASDA its cucumbers are too curly
ASDA, on Friday (6 October), wrote to EU Commissioner Franz Fischler asking it to relax curvature rules on cucumbers, after discovering that it couldn't classify all its organic range of cucumbers as Class I because of Euro red tape.Brussels' cucumber commissioners decided in June 1988 under rule 1677/88 that a Class I cucumber should have a maximum arc of 10mm per 10cm and re-confirmed this view in amendments made in 1997.However, ASDA is asking for an EU re-think following the explosion of demand for organic fruit and vegetables. Organic cucumbers are less uniform in shape, but the difference in curliness - up to 20mm per 10cm - means, despite being of the highest quality, a large proportion have to be categorised and sold as Class II.An overhaul of cucumber conventions seems overdue after ASDA also discovered that it could quite legally circumvent classification rules by chopping a Class II cucumber in half and selling each portion as a Class I vegetable."As far as our customers are concerned, straight cucumbers taste just as good as curly ones," said ASDA's produce director Peter Pritchard. "But it's clear that EU red tape needs to catch up with the massive demand for organic fruit and veg."Despite EU curliness rules, Class I cucumbers can have slight defects in colouring and skin blemishes caused by rubbing and handling. But crooked cucumbers that have an arc greater than 20mm per 10cm are only allowed if packed and sold separately.Last month, ASDA dramatically doubled the number of organic products in store, with a wide selection available in each of ASDA's 240 stores across the UK. Only one of the reasons behind ASDA's confirmation as Britain's best fresh produce retailer at last week's Reed Retail Awards, winning the title for a second consecutive year.
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