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Bendy bananas: What are the EU rules and why do some people care?

EU regulations for bananas state they have to be “free from malformation or abnormal curvature” (PA Archive)
EU regulations for bananas state they have to be “free from malformation or abnormal curvature” (PA Archive)

EU regulations on bendy bananas will be staying, the UK government has revealed, despite Brexit giving the country the opportunity to disregard them.

The rules were due to be automatically scrapped from the UK statute books at the end of this year before the government’s U-turn on the wholesale repeal of EU legislation earlier this week.

But, what are the rules governing bendy bananas and why are they being kept?

Here is everything we know.

What are the rules for bendy bananas?

EU regulations for bananas say the fruits have to be “free from malformation or abnormal curvature”. They add that the bananas should have their “stalk intact, without bending, fungal damage or desiccation” and be “free from pests”.

However, the rules do not specify anything about the straightness or the bendiness of the fruits.

Where did the controversy start?

The controversy about the EU determining which bananas Brits could consume started during the Brexit campaigns.

During his Vote Leave campaigning, Boris Johnson had said: “Absolutely crazy that the EU is telling us how powerful our vacuum cleaners have got to be, what shape our bananas have got to be, and all that kind of thing.”

The idea that the EU was determining the shape of the UK’s bananas is now known to many as a Euromyth, which is an exaggerated or invented story about the European Union.

Why are they being kept?

The government is getting rid of a planned “sunset clause” that was due to automatically scrape EU regulations from UK law by the end of 2023, unless they were specifically chosen to be kept.

Instead, the government will specify the exact regulations it wants to remove or reform. And, the rules for bananas have not been earmarked as among those to be taken out.

But this doesn’t mean the rule will stay forever. Parliament could still decide to scrap it later.