Marketing fruit and vegetables

The marketing of fruit and vegetables is governed by EC Regulation 1580/2007, as amended, EC Regulation 2898/95 (which covers unripened green bananas) and the Marketing of Fresh Horticultural Produce Regulations 2009.

There are two types of standard, the “General Marketing Standard” and the “Specific Marketing Standard”.

The Specific Marketing Standard

The Specific Marketing Standard applies to the following fruits and salad crops:

  • apples;
  • table grapes;
  • kiwifruit;
  • citrus fruit;
  • peaches and nectarines;
  • pears;
  • strawberries;
  • lettuce and endives;
  • sweet peppers;
  • tomatoes;
  • unripened green bananas.

There are Specific Marketing Standards for each of these products which must be met before they can be marketed.

Where the Specific Marketing Standards apply the produce should be classed (graded). There are three classes for such products: “extra class” (for superior quality produce), “class I” (for good quality produce) and “class II” (for reasonable quality produce).

The products should be labelled with the identity of the packer or dispatcher, the quality class of the produce, the variety and the size and weight or count in the container.

If a product does not meet the Specific Marketing Standard but does meet the General Marketing Standard it can still be sold as long as it is clearly labelled “intended for processing” or using equivalent wording.

The General Marketing Standard

The General Marketing Standard applies to most other types of fruit, vegetables, nuts, herbs and mushrooms. The following products are, however, excluded from the marketing standards altogether:

  • potatoes;
  • coconuts;
  • sugarcane;
  • sweetcorn;
  • wild mushrooms;
  • chilli peppers;
  • capers;
  • brazil nuts;
  • bitter almonds;
  • shelled almonds;
  • shelled hazelnuts;
  • shelled walnuts;
  • pine nuts;
  • peanuts;
  • olives;
  • bananas;
  • saffron;
  • ginger;
  • sweet potatoes;
  • yams.

Produce to which the General Marketing Standard applies is subject to minimum quality requirements, minimum maturity requirements and is required to be marked with its origin.

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