The European Commission has told just-food that it is confident the 27 EU member states will vote next Wednesday (12 November) to repeal the marketing standards for 26 different types of fruit and vegetables, thus ending the EU's much-derided ban on curved cucumbers and other odd-shaped vegetables.

The move will allow greater freedom for retailers to sell dwarf, jumbo or misshapen apples, pears and soft fruit but not bananas, which are covered by different rules, Brussels' agriculture spokesman Michael Mann said.

Next week's vote will be in the EU's relevant management committee, which has the authority to scarp the standards.

In July, 15 EU member states, including France, Italy and Spain, voted against the change, under pressure from fruit and vegetable growers, wholesalers and retailers. However, Mann said that it would require a qualified majority, around 66% of votes on the committee, to block the proposed change. "There isn't one," Mann said, predicting the axe would finally fall on the controversial rules.

Repeal of the marketing standards would leave ten food products regulated with EU size and shape standards, but individual member states could still authorise the sale of misshapen lines if they were specially labelled, Mann said.