Stephen Fry pokes fun at Euro-myths

Here’s the “Call my Euro-bluff” section from an episode of QI I stumbled across:

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  • But aren’t there actual standards about the curviness of bananas (the class I/II categorisation). The “defence” is whether this is EU legislation or not not but there’s never a discussion about whether it is sane to have such regulations at all (which do result in a lot of food getting wasted etc)

  • @Hywel

    I think the purchasers wanted it (a classification), because their customers wanted it.

    People avoid misshapen fruit/veg when they are paying by the weight, illogical as this might be.

  • @Andy

    But the fact that most fruit in Tesco etc is Class 1 is usually printed in incredibly small text so I’m not sure many customers look for it.

    No-one has ever asked me how curvy I wanted my banana to be (Prob a good job Frankie Howerd isn’t here!) and such classification does mean that Class II fruit and veg rarely makes it into the supermarket meaning prices are higher (and children grow up with a weird, “racially pure” idea of what fruit and veg looks like.

    This is part of the classification of Class 1 bananas (according to t’internet anyway)
    “- slight skin defects due to rubbing and other superficial defects not exceeding 2 cm2 of the total surface area; ”

    As regards size:
    “The minimum length should not be less than 14.0 cm and the minimum grade not less than 2.7 cm.”

    That must mean that every banana sold (or at least classified) has involved someone in measuring the length, circumference and any marks on the skin. This for a product which in the main people actually pick for themselves and is often sold by weight.

    I don’t believe that’s the biggest issue needing attention today.

    As I usually point out at this point, despite attempts to deny it there IS EU legislation on the curviness of cucumbers, (or at least was untill recently – the good news is a whole raft of such legislation has been repealed) the fact that it used to be UK legislation doesn’t make it right.

  • Kim Scriven 4th Aug '09 - 4:41pm

    An episode of QI you ‘stumbled across’ – someone’s been watching too much Dave…

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