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April 25, 2004

Your Tax Money at Work

Christopher Booker in the Telegraph tells us again about the European Union's banana regulations. He even tells us the name of the document.
So here is the link to Commission Regulation 2257 /94 "Laying down Quality Standards for Bananas."
This is a good example of what apparently sane and reasonable people do with their lives. Something about protecting us from something or other, perhaps the international tropical fruit conspiracy, or maybe they're worried that Halliburton ( Bush Lied !! ) can make oil from them.
So the regulations state that bananas should not be rotten (really ?) and that :

The bananas must be presented in hands or clusters (parts of hands) of at least four fingers. Clusters with not more than two missing fingers are allowed, provided that the stalk is not torn but cleanly cut, without damage to the neighbouring fingers. Not more than one cluster of three fingers with the same characteristics as the other fruit in the package may be present per row.

I mean just imagine, the health and safety aspects of bananas being presented in clusters of two, or three ?

VI. MARKING Each package must bear the following particulars in writing, all on the same side, legibly and indelibly marked and visible from the outside: A Identification Packer } Name and address or officially issued and/or } or recognised conventional mark dispatcher } B Nature of produce - the word 'Bananas' where the contents are not visible from the outside

Yes, yes, what a joyful and triumphant addition to the national wellbeing! A box which contains bananas must, by law, have on the outside a printed message stating that this box contains bananas. This is so obviously something which no one, no free market trader, in the entire 8,000 year history of banana cultivation had ever thought of. Indeed, the lack of properly labelled banana boxes was such that an edict had to be passed to safeguard all 370 million Europeans from the heinous effects, such edict promulgated through 15 national governments and enforced by armies of health and safety / trading standards officers.
Heavens to Betsy, thank you, thank you European Union for saving us !! Of course you can have your new constitution now.

These regulations are brought to you by the same people who banned the importation of Bombay Duck into the EU. There was an outbreak of some avian disease in India, so imports of fowl were banned on health grounds. That applied to Bombay Duck. The problem was and is that " Bombay Duck " is actually a dried fish. But they still banned it anyway.

And on bananas ? You recall how a really curved one might cause trauma, perhaps reminding you of William Jefferson's distinguishing characteristic ? They're on the case there too :

In all classes, subject to the special provisions for each class and the tolerances
allowed, the bananas must be:
free from malformation or abnormal curvature of the fingers

Yes, the European Union really does have a law that states that bananas must not be too curved.

And for this we pay our taxes ?
Sheesh. And Jeez.

April 25, 2004 in Your Tax Money at Work | Permalink


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