Asda wants the European Commission to change quality rules governing cucumbers because of the increased demand for organics. Twelve years ago the Commission decided that a Class I product should have a maximum arc of 10mm per 10cm. It reconfirmed this in 1997. Now Commissioner Franz Fischler has been asked to reconsider the definition. Peter Pritchard, Asda's produce director, said: "As far as customers are concerned a straight cucumber tastes as good as a curly one. EU red tape needs to catch up with the massive demand for organics." While crooked cucumbers are only allowed if packed and sold separately, Asda says it is quite legal to chop a Class II cucumber in half and sell each portion as Class I. - English fresh produce growers have submitted plans to the Commission for making community aid for producers' organisations more responsive to marketing changes The EU regime is designed to improve consumption by reducing overproduction. To qualify, producer organisations must nominate crops which account for at least 50% of their production. The NFU, spearheading the initiative, wants the facility for other single products to be added to meet customers' future demands. The repayment method should also be more flexible. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}

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