Fruit too ugly to eat?

It appears that the European Commission is doing away with certain rules that deal with fruit and vegetables having to do with a standard of perfection. And to think that I wasn’t even aware of the fact that we are paying bureaucrats to ensure we are not confronted with  – ah – what – ugly fruit on the supermarket shelves? Give me a break! An excellent guideline might be – if it is really too ugly, let’s say revoltingly ugly, it might not sell. But do we really need someone to protect us from seeing that imperfect peach or whatever?

Actually the restrictions are only lifted for 26 items (among them apricots, artichokes, asparagus), but remain in effect for another 10 types of produce which make up about 75% of items sold in the EU (apples, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, lettuces, peaches and nectarines, pears, strawberries, sweet peppers, table grapes and tomatoes). So the good news is that as of July 1 2009 a cucumber does not have to show a certain curvature to be allowed to grace the market basket. That is good news I suppose, but my question is still – what about the taste? Is that not an important aspect of what we eat? Anybody care about that?

You can read more about how the EU slices up ‘ugly fruit’ rules.

And here is some imperfection that grew in my garden last summer. Weird to look at but still quite tasty as I remember ;)

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10 Responses to “Fruit too ugly to eat?”

  1. Kerstin Says:

    I love the picture.

    Aside from that, ugly fruit really might not sell. But it should be up to those who want to sell something to care how their produce looks like.

  2. David Dean Says:

    I have friends who are from Mexico. They tell me all the time “Americans are so spoiled.” “Ugly” produce was one of the reasons. They’re happy to get all the produce we think is too ugly.
    I’ve always told people that If it tastes good, don’t worry about what it looks like.

    P.S. Your blatant attempt to generate site hits seems to have worked. ;)

  3. ingrid Says:

    Kerstin,
    “Aside from that, ugly fruit really might not sell. ”
    not sure about that, the problem I have is that I don’t want anyone pre-screening, like I can’t decide for myself what I want to buy. And in this case a total waste of money. There must be something better for the European Commission to do.
    Glad you liked the picture ;)

  4. ingrid Says:

    Hi David,
    you are so right, we are all spoiled, not just in the US. It is no different over here. Sometimes the temptation to do something to disrupt the perfect order in which items are displayed on the supermarket shelves is overwhelming ;)
    I liked your P.S. – hit the nail on the head and I thank you for your contribution ;)

  5. Vik Says:

    I think producers should put the ugly tomatoes in the diced cans and the ugly peaches in the jam jars instead of letting them rot on a shelf, but I also don’t see what business the regulators have in this decision.

  6. ingrid Says:

    Vik, hey, something we agree on ;)
    Unfortunately the produce that is deemed unusable because of blemishes or unacceptable shape goes mostly to waste. So I am actually looking forward to seeing fruit on the shelves that is not all the same like peas in a pod.

  7. Kerstin Says:

    When I watch people (and admittedly myself) picking fruits nobody takes the ugly ones. So, I think that those who sell and resell them must have some interest to provide only nice and fresh looking ones to the end user. The others should get processed. It seems to me that’s just common sense. It buffles me that the EU even feels the need for regulation in this area.

  8. ingrid Says:

    I might definitely pick ‘interesting looking’ fruit over the ones that all look alike. Does that make me sound a little wacky? ;)
    I am forever looking for faces or similar things in nature. So to each his/her own I guess. You are right though, this is a common sense thing where what doesn’t sell will not be put back on the shelves again making regulations totally superfluous. Consumer demand should be the trigger.

  9. Kerstin Says:

    ingrid
    “I might definitely pick ‘interesting looking’ fruit over the ones that all look alike. Does that make me sound a little wacky? ;)

    Not at all. It all depends on your approach to fruits. To me they’re just there to eat something hopefully healthy. I buy them, put them in a bowl at home and don’t look at them again until I want to eat them.
    If I wanted to take pictures I’d probably not buy the shiny boring ones either :)

  10. ingrid Says:

    Kerstin,
    great minds etc. ;)

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