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May 01, 2004

Carrots Are Fruit. Official: the EU Says So

As promised to Ms Postrel a few days ago I have dug out

COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2001/113/EC of 20 December 2001relating to fruit jams, jellies and marmalades and sweetened chestnut purée intended for human consumption


It's actually the Irish version, not for any important reason other than to show that these silly directives have to be passed by every single EU Govt, including the various regional assemblies. I could put up the Welsh version ( yes Virginia, there really is a Welsh Assembly, and while every single inhabitant of that country who can understand language at all [we English think that is not a high percentage ] understands English, this directive was translated into Welsh ) or if I was feeling bored enough, the Flemish, Catalan or even, Lord help us, that of the cheese eating surrender monkeys.
Stop and think for a moment. As of today there are 25 different countries in the European Union. There's a number of problems out there globally, war, terrorism, gross and avoidable poverty, plague, death and destruction. So, just over three months after 3,000 innocents are slaughtered by islamist terrorists, the entire continent of Europe turns its attentions to what is and is not a permitted ingredient of jam, jellies, marmalades and sweet chestnut puree. For human consumption of course. There are different rules for those to go into bakery products ( heaven forfend that we might spread what we bake with on our bread . Or vice versa of course. ) and one must assume that pet foods containing them, or jams and jellies ( KY ? ) for skin care or other uses are dealt with elsewhere.
It's not just the timing of course. There is also the thought that defining what is and what is not jam is in itself a fairly stupid activity for adults. And it is this very desire to classify everything that illuminates the EU.
You have to understand that there is a huge difference in law between Continental Europe and the UK, Ireland and the US. Put very simply, we in the latter three can do anything as long as there is not a law against it. The other system, sometimes called Napoleonic Law, is that something is only legal if there is a law allowing you to do it. So as we make common laws there is an inevitable conflict between these two systems. This is what leads to Directives which contain the following :

— ‘Jam’ is a mixture, brought to a suitable gelled consistency, of sugars, the pulp and/or purée of one or more kinds
of fruit and water. However, citrus jam may be obtained from the whole fruit, cut into strips and/or sliced.
The quantity of pulp and/or purée used for the manufacture of 1 000 g of finished product must not be less than:
— 350 g as a general rule,
— 250 g for redcurrants, rowanberries, sea-buckthorns, blackcurrants, rosehips and quinces,
— 150 g for ginger,
— 160 g for cashew apples,
— 60 g for passion fruit.

— In the case of ‘extra jelly’, however, the quantity of fruit juice and/or aqueous extracts used in the manufacture of
1 000 g of finished product must not be less than that laid down for the manufacture of extra jam. These
quantities are calculated after deduction of the weight of water used in preparing the aqueous extracts. The
following fruits may not be used mixed with others in the manufacture of extra jelly: apples, pears, clingstone
plums, melons, water-melons, grapes, pumpkins, cucumbers and tomatoes.

The following additional ingredients may be used in the products defined in Annex I:
— honey as defined in Council Directive 2001/110/EC of 20 December 2001 relating to honey (1): in all products as a
total or partial substitute for sugars,
— fruit juice: only in jam,
— citrus fruit juice: in products obtained from other types of fruit: only in jam, extra jam, jelly and extra jelly,
— red fruit juices: only in jam and extra jam manufactured from rosehips, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries,
redcurrants, plums and rhubarb,
— red beetroot juice: only in jam and jelly manufactured from strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, redcurrants and
— essential oils of citrus fruits: only in marmalade and jelly marmalade,
— edible oils and fats as anti-foaming agents: in all products,
— liquid pectin: in all products,
— citrus peel: in jam, extra jam, jelly and extra jelly,
— leaves of Pelargonium odoratissimum: in jam, extra jam, jelly and extra jelly, where they are made from quince,
— spirits, wine and liqueur wine, nuts, aromatic herbs, spices, vanilla and vanilla extracts: in all products,
— vanilline: in all products.

So it is now the law of the continent that one may use citrus fruit juice in various jams, but essential oils of citrus fruits only in marmalades. Got that ? Yes, there really is someone, in fact a whole system of government that thinks those distinctions are important. Important enough to translate them into law and 30 odd languages for the smooth running of a state of 455 million people.
They do run into the odd problem though. Why

leaves of Pelargonium odoratissimum: in jam, extra jam, jelly and extra jelly, where they are made from quince, ?

Ah, the Portuguese have something called Marmelada. Nothing to do with marmalade, although every Englishman that comes here makes the mistake once. It's a thick paste of quince, seasoned with those leaves. So in drawing up these laws they do take account of local oddities. Except those 10 countries who have just joined of course. They have to take all 90,000 pages of this tripe as it is, no changes allowed. It's called the Acquis Communitaire. You join, you sign up for all of it, no exceptions.
Now I don't know about this, but I can imagine Poles making jam out of beetroots, Hungarians from paprika ( Hungary is a country where even your breakfast hamneggs, and that really is the Hungarian word for the dish, guess what's in it ? comes sprinkled with paprika.) and I would be willing to bet that Czechs make jam from dumplings for they seem to be 90 % of the diet. As of today all of these, if they exist, are illegal. From the Soviets where you couldn't get the ingredients to the Europeans where it is illegal to use them in just 15 years. Bet they're all grateful.
But I promised to show you that carrots are a fruit. Once again it's the Portuguese here. They must have had a good negotiator on this committee. Roundabouts here there is " Doce de Cenoura " and " Doce de Tomate". Carrot jam and tomato jam. Now I don't think there would be a revolution if these were not available, certainly nothing to match the bloody uprising that would result from banning the above Marmelada but it is their existence that leads to this :
for the purposes of this Directive, tomatoes, the edible parts of rhubarb stalks, carrots, sweet potatoes,
cucumbers, pumpkins, melons and water-melons are considered to be fruit,

Me ? Sorry, but this farce has gone on long enough. Delenda est EU.

May 1, 2004 in European Union | Permalink


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Here in America, one of our past Presidents declared "catsup" to be considered a vegetable in its own right.

Posted by: Jesse Chisholm | May 2, 2004 5:09:03 PM

Indeed. Ronald Reagan as part of school lunches.

Posted by: Tim Worstall | May 2, 2004 6:02:56 PM