We investigate EU myths: From bendy bananas to banning kids colouring

Over the years there have been a number of stories about how EU laws impact our lives in the UK.

Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 09:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 09:12 am
Is it true that the EU banned bendy bananas?

With the Brexit date looming we take a look at the rulings that have made the headlines over the years and discover if they are true or false.

The EU banned straight and bendy bananas

TRUE AND FALSE

Is it true that the EU banned bendy bananas?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It didn’t ban them but there are certain expectations that consumers have and quality standards which the EU implements.

On the European Parliament website it said that bananas are classified by the quality and size so they can be traded internationally, this is so people know what they are buying and that the process meets quality standards and the consumer’s expectations.

It said on its website: “Straight and bendy are not banned by the EU, but the Commission regulation 2257/94 identifies certain restrictions for fruits that producers have to conform to in order to sell their produce within the EU. The regulation states that bananas must be ‘free from malformation or abnormal curvature’.”

There are two classes: 1 can have slight defects of shape and class 2 has full on defects of shape.

The EU is banning children from colouring

FALSE

A story was published in 2017 stating that the EU was banning children from using crayons and colouring pencils.

In fact this relates to the EU introducing new measures to reduce lead in toys.

On the European Commission website it said: “Anyone with young children knows that they have tendency to chew toys – not least pencils and crayons.

“The latest scientific evidence supports the view that there is no safe threshold and even tiny amounts of lead present in such toys can contribute to the risk of children suffering disorders ranging from kidney disease to learning difficulties.”

The news measures came into force in 2018, and are to ensure that children can continue to play and colour without being exposed to lead poisoning.

The EU wants to ban donner kebabs

FALSE

In 2017 a story came out that the EU wanted to ban donner kebabs.

When in fact it was related to a debate in the European Parliament about whether to ban the use of phosphates as a preservative in processed meat.

The European Commission stated that ‘scientific research has shown a link between the chemicals and heart disease in humans. However, a majority of elected parliamentarians voted against a proposal, which would have required a change in the manufacturing process of kebab meat’.

EU banned vacuum cleaners

TRUE AND FALSE

The EU didn’t ban vacuum cleaners as a whole but in 2017 it did enforce a ban on inefficient cleaners over 900W .

The website Which? Said; “The new vacuum cleaners energy label rules will reduce the maximum wattage from 1,600W to 900W for any vacuum cleaner manufactured or sold in the EU. It also introduces new restrictions on how noisy vacuum cleaners can be, limiting them to 80dB, and stipulates minimum durability requirements.”

German children banned from sending their wish-lists to Santa because of EU privacy laws

FALSE

This story hit headlines in November 2018. On the European commission website it said: “The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation does not forbid Christmas wish lists.

“Under EU data protection rules, data can be processed when a person has given their consent but also on the basis of other legal grounds. In this context, Santa Claus should have the contact details of a family in order to deliver presents on the wish list he received – in the case of minors, provided their parents agree.

“These have been the rules for the past 20 years and the General Data Protection Regulation has not changed them. Also provisions for the protection of minors reflect national civil law.”