A European Union regulation on bendy bananas will be dropped, the Environment Secretary has announced.
In her keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference, Therese Coffey said “bent or straight”, it is not for the Government to decide “the shape of bananas you want to eat”.
“I just need to assure you that they are safe to eat,” she told the Exchange Hall at the Manchester Central Convention Complex.
The Environment Secretary also called out the “green zealots” who want to make people eat “fake meat”, which she said might only be “OK” for “astronauts”.
The EU Commission regulation on “bendy bananas” was going to be removed from the UK statute books at the end of the year.
However, in May the Government U-turned and announced it was no longer going to automatically repeal all retained EU law in the UK by the end of 2023.
The widely parodied rule sets out marketing standards for bananas across Europe and says the fruits have to be “free from malformation or abnormal curvature”.
Ms Coffey said: “We are going further to help farmers and rural businesses by making the most of our Brexit freedoms, freedom from European rules, freedom to choose what works best for Britain. We’ve already legislated to allow gene editing so that we can design crops that are fit for the future.
“My officials are cutting red tape and introducing smarter regulation, and, frankly, bent or straight, it’s not for Government to decide the shape of bananas you want to eat.
“I just need to assure you that they are safe to eat. So, we will be dropping absurd regulations including the one on bendy bananas.”
She also told party members earlier in her speech: “Our farmers produce the best food in the world to the highest animal welfare standards.
“But there’s some green zealots who think our farmers should stop rearing livestock and instead we should eat fake meat. Regardless of what the zealots say, by the way, I’m being taken to court in relation to this right now, I’m absolutely not going to tell anyone that they should not eat meat.
“Fake meat might be OK for astronauts, but when people think of a meat feast, I want them to be thinking about great Welsh lamb, our Aberdeen Angus beef, our Saddleback pork, not some pizza topping.”
Ms Coffey also made a couple of other announcements, such as that Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan is reviewing the Universal Service Obligation and looking to “get faster broadband to some of the most remote places in the country”.
On the need for more homes in the countryside, she said: “Today, as the next step with the Levelling Up Secretary (Michael Gove), I can announce that Homes England is publishing a rural housing statement, setting out how it will play its part in delivering the Government’s housing and levelling up priorities in rural areas.”