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Food, drink and straight bananas

  • Whelks' storage temperature is to be harmonised by Brussels. This is untrue. Shellfish food poisoning risks are sensibly minimised by an EU agreement that sea urchins, sea snails and whelks need to be transported, conserved and stored at a temperature which keeps them alive. There has been no "harmonisation" of whelk stalls at a specific temperature.
  • Local sweet shops will be forced to close due to Brussels regulations banning them from selling unwrapped sweets. This is untrue. There is no EU regulation existing or planned which would affect the selling of unwrapped sweets.
  • EU may try to ban TV sweet and toy ads. This is untrue. There are no EU plans whatsoever to ban television advertising for sweets and toys. The national policy of a single member state (in this case Sweden) can in no way be assumed to lead inexorably to EU action.
  • Eurocrats to ban English apples over 55mm across. This is untrue. Quality and marketing standards for apples in the UK, including size, have been around since 1928 to help facilitate international trade: this does not involve banning apples.
  • Curved bananas to be banned. This is untrue. Bananas are classified according to quality and size for international trade; under EU agreements rationalising past standards by individual governments and the industry. They are not banned.
  • Bombay duck banned. This is untrue. A temporary EU wide ban on the import of a number of fisheries products from India was introduced during 1997 following the discovery of cholera in some fisheries products: this has now been lifted.
  • Brandy butter is to be renamed 'brandy spreadable fat'. This is untrue. There is no such EU plan.
  • Brussels bureaucrats are planning the end of the traditional standard loaf. This is untrue. There have never been any proposals from the Commission to scrap the British loaf.
  • Caerphilly cheese production in Caerphilly has been forced to close by a Brussels ban on un-pasteurised milk deliveries in metal churns. This is untrue. EU agreements requiring the use of sealed containers only apply to the transportation of heat-treated and pasteurised milk, so raw or un-pasteurised milk, may still be transported in open churns.
  • Specialist varieties of cheese such as Cheddar, Cheshire and Lancashire look set to be banned under EU rules. This is untrue. The European Commission has no intention of banning any traditional cheese because of the use of un-pasteurised milk.
  • EU rules relating to listeria in cheese pose a threat to many traditional cheeses, including Lanark Blue, Stilton, Brie and Camembert. This is untrue. There is no evidence of any cheeses in the EU having had to be taken off the market as a result of the agreement (92/46/EEC) on safety implemented at the request of the UK.
  • EU wants to rename British chocolate 'vegelate' or 'milk chocolate with a high milk content'. This is untrue. There has never been a proposal from the Commission to call some kinds of chocolate "vegelate" or "milk chocolate with a high fat content" - just to label them clearly.
  • Brussels regulations mean Cornish clotted cream can be made in Brittany. This is untrue. In fact EU agreements mean that a named food or drink registered at European level will be given protection against imitations throughout the Community. The UK has currently 28 products registered in this way including Newcastle brown ale, white and blue Stilton and Whitstable oysters. An objection to the Cornish Clotted Cream producers application from the French Ministry of Agriculture was withdrawn.
  • Information about nuts (which some people are allergic to) must now be put in Latin instead of English. The EU is adopting internationally recognised standards already used worldwide.There is nothing to stop manufacturers putting English terminology as well.
  • Cucumbers have to be straight and must not arch more than 10mm for every 10mm of their length. This is not true. No cucumbers are banned by the EU.
  • A move by Euro pen-pushers could see pots of bio-yoghurt sold in Britain renamed as fermented milk. This is untrue. It has nothing to do with the European Union: any such issues would be a matter for the World Health Authority.
  • Square gin bottles to be compulsorily replaced by round ones to ensure a level playing field under the Single Market. This is untrue. The European Commission has no, and has never had any, intention of proposing any such thing.
  • Brussels regulations mean swans cannot be fed stale bread and bakers and other industries will be blocked from giving leftovers to wildlife charities or to the homeless. This is untrue. Any such situation is most likely to have resulted from the UK's 1990 Environmental Protection Act.
  • Brussels is out to ban soya milk, claiming it is not sufficiently clearly labelled to distinguish it from cow's milk. This is untrue, there is no ban by Brussels on soya milk products.
  • Traditional pizza sizes in inches are to be outlawed by the EU under new laws regulating their diameter and depth. This is untrue. The European Commission has not produced any such law, and has no intention of doing so in the future.
  • Crackpot Euro chiefs have decreed British rhubarb must be straight. This is untrue. The European Union has never planned to set, or recommend, marketing rules for rhubarb.
  • From 1 October 1999 it has been a criminal offence for a pub to sell mixed drinks such as shandy in a pint. This is untrue. Purveyors of pints of shandy run no risk of criminalisation.
  • Britain sent 880 punnets of strawberries back to Spain in 1995 because Brussels red tape declared them the wrong shape. This is untrue. EU-wide agreements have existed since 1987 laying down quality standards for strawberries, with conditions on minimum sizes for each class, freshness and lack of damage so as to ensure that low quality produce does not reach the consumer: there are no regulations on shape.
  • From December 1995, Brussels decided to outlaw Britain's traditional mushy peas. This is untrue. There has been no attempt to ban mushy peas.
  • Brussels has decided that shellfish (especially mussels and oysters) must be given rest breaks and stress-relieving showers during journeys of over 50 km. This is untrue. Shellfish are not, and were never, included in requirements for watering, journey times and resting periods, although widespread public concern as to the transport of animals is reflected in EU agreements.

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