Nearly bed-time, but I see that the Stalinist DEFRA anti-traders have struck again.

David Davis

They have struck here. What a bloody saddo shower of nerdy (no, not nerdy, just evil and wicked) these “people” are. How can we share a planet with these buggers? They do not see the world, and existence, through our prism.

I’d really, really, really, sometime before I die, like to know something. It’s this:-

What under Heaven is it, that causes otherwise outwardly human beings to (a) want a job like a “DEFRA inspector”, (b) actively go out and get that job (for it does not come to you, you have to want it and ask for it, like any other job) and (c) then go about joyfully “delivering consumer confidence” by threatening a retailer with bankruptcy or a criminal record?

Are there actually real, living, breathing human beings on this planet, nay, in this nation (worse) who are actively anti-Libertarian? And who actively torment others, using the force of “law” with the “it’s not our problme, it’s yours, matey” line?

Perhaps I really am autistic. Because I can’t understand why anybody would _want_ to behave, and would _wilfully_ (and in public) behave like these people?

OK, so a EU-directive says something? Disobey the f*****g thing, like everybody else. It’s what it’s for. The EU has corrupted the very idea of “law” so let’s just go with the flow and get on with our lives, get out more, and sell the kiwis whatever. Who cares, for f***’s sake?

Why not either let him give them away, if it’s so crucial (then all the “consumers” have lost is nothing at all) or sell them to poor people for less?


Subj: [eurorealist] Fw: EU rules ban sale of ‘too small’ kiwis 
Date: 30/06/2008 14:03:34 GMT Daylight Time
From: peter@pwwatson.co.uk
Reply-to: eurorealist@yahoogroups.com
To: EUroRealist@yahoogroups.com
Sent from the Internet (Details)

—– Original Message —–
From: “Bill & Ann Woodhouse” <office@tidemaster.co.uk>
To: “Ann Woodhouse” <office@tidemaster.co.uk>
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:50 PM
Subject: EU rules ban sale of ‘too small’ kiwis

> If you tried to dream up anything so silly to denigrate our new
> government in Brussels, no one would believe you but complain you were
> instigating another Euro-myth. B&A
> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2199214/EU-rules-ban-sale-of-‘too-
> small’-kiwis.html
> EU rules ban sale of ‘too small’ kiwis By Richard Savill 26/06/2008
> A wholesaler has been banned from selling a consignment of kiwi fruits
> because EU laws deemed them too small.
> Tim Down, a market trader for 25 years, said he was not permitted even
> to give away the 5,000 Chilean fruits, each of which is about the size
> of a small hen’s egg and weighs about 60g.
> Mr Down said his family run firm would lose several hundred pounds in
> sales because of the ban.
> “It is bureaucratic nonsense, they are perfectly fit to eat,” Mr Down
> said at his stall at the Wholesale Fruit Centre in Bristol.
> Inspectors from the Rural Payments Agency, an executive agency of the
> Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), made a
> random check on his stall, and found a number of his kiwis weighed 58g,
> four grams below the required minimum of 62g.
> Mr Down said that 4g in weight was the equivalent of about one
> millimeter in diameter.
> He said: “They (the inspectors) went through a lot of my stock using
> their own little scales.
> “These regulations are enforced in the United Kingdom with a higher
> level of rigour than is applied in mainland Europe. There is not a
> level playing field.
> “This fruit will now go to waste at a time when we are all feeling the
> pinch from rising prices.” He said there would also be the
> environmental cost of taking the fruits to a landfill site.
> Mr Down said he was not permitted by law to give away the kiwis to a
> school or hostel and faced a fine of several thousand pounds if he did.
> Barry Stedman, head of the Rural Payments Agency’s inspectorate, said
> the consignment had failed to meet the minimum standards for saleable
> produce, in contravention of EU grading rules.
> “The inspector’s decision is consistent with RPA’s commitment to
> protect consumers, who must feel confident that the produce they are
> buying is of the right quality,” he said.
> “RPA’s role is to work with traders to provide advice and assistance
> to ensure that this happens and to help traders carry out their
> business within the law.”
> The agency said Mr Down has been given a number of options, including
> sending the fruit back to the importer.
> The European Commission said recently that it wanted to relax the
> regulations which prevented misshapen or underweight fruit and
> vegetables being sold.
> The rules have previously banished curved cucumbers, straight bananas
> and skinny carrots.
> “The inspectors visit us on a random basis, probably two to three
> times monthly and select items at random that they wish to inspect,”
> said Mr Down.
> “The latest inspection took place subsequent to the announcement by
> the EC that the regulations are being modified.
> “We have had many items rejected over the years, but this, for a
> variety of reasons, is one of the most nonsensical.”



  1. Dave:

    This does seem heavy-handed. I would like to know what other options the trader was given. Clearly, he could return them to the importer as of “unmerchantable quality.”

    The uderlying problem is that fruit and vegetable traders increasingly sell on an “as-is” basis. The produce is laid out in bowls on the stall, priced “per bowl” or “per each.” If the kiwi fruit are “undersized”, it may be hard to tell. To flirt with absurdity: a grower might seek to produce “kiwi fruit” which were deceptively small, or hollow.

    The EU trading rules are (supposedly) designed to enforce a “level playing field”, so that consumers and traders are dealing with a commodity. The idea is that if you buy “cooking oil” you don’t get transformer oils; and that everyone selling “bananas” is selling more or less the same thing.

    As Adam Smith taught us, some vendors are constantly conspiring against the customers. If they didn’t, we might not have this mild absurdity.

    Stopping him giving them away sounds daft and unenforceable.

    But check out the “priced by the bowl” racket. They won’t give you a price by weight, and get extremely shirty if you ask to weigh the contents of the bowl on your own scales.

    There IS a trend to sell less and less for more and more. How is it to be stopped?



  2. How is it to be stopped, Tony? Let the market discovery process take it’s course and boycott the sellers who offer you 1mm-undersized, or otherwise substandard (to your definition of substandard) fruit.

  3. Pete C:

    I wish it were as simple as that. Even then, that would mean going shopping with vernier calipers, pocket scales, a density checker, a banknote checker, and Heaven knows what else. This would make shopping a burdensome, tedious business (and I like shopping!)

    Here’s another example:

    I “buy” a Sky+ box. “Cost” is between 160 UKP and 100 UKP, depending on circumstances. The deal comes with a year’s free warranty.

    The year expires, and we find out that Sky have franchised out maintenance to a dozen different firms, all of whom demand 98 UKP a year for maintenance. That is, a year’s maintenance costs as much as a Sky+ box _including_ a year’s maintenance.

    One solution _might_ be to buy a new Sky+ box every time it goes wrong. But Sky assert residual rights over the things. How long could anyone resort to this solution before Sky cottoned on?

    I won’t be recommending Sky+ boxes anymore. I AM looking for the best DEFRA-rype outfit to climb all over them on this.

    By way of comparison: I’ve just bought a new 32″ LCD Sony TV for @400 UKP; and FIVE YEARS full warranty for 150 UKP.

    Yo, Dixonsonline.co.uk



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