BRUSSELS – Europe ends a two-decade ban on ugly fruit and vegetables on Wednesday by scrapping standards that keep misshapen mushrooms and curvy cucumbers out of supermarkets.
The European Union said dropping rules that only allow beautiful-looking produce to hit shop shelves would reduce waste and allow farmers sell more of their crop.
British supermarket chain Sainsbury's called for the rule changes last year after it was prevented from launching a Halloween range of twisted vegetables.
It claimed store managers could get a criminal record for selling "zombies' brains" undersized cauliflower, "ogres' toenails" bendy cucumbers and "witches' fingers" carrots with more than one finger for up to 40 percent less than more attractive vegetables.
Ugly fruit and vegetables are usually sold to food processors to be mashed into sauces or soups.
Now some 26 types — such as cabbage, onions, cherries, avocados and zucchini — can go on sale for the first time without any restrictions.
Ugly versions of the 10 most popular fruit and vegetables — including apples, citrus fruit and tomatoes — will have to be labeled as nonstandard.