Commission Regulation (EC) No 2257/94

European Union European Union regulation:
Regulation (EC) No 2257/94
(Text with EEA relevance)
Made by European Commission
Made under Art.
Journal reference L245, pp. 6-10
Made 1994-09-16
Came into force 1995-01-01
Preparative texts
Other legislation
Amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1135/96 of 24 June 1996

Commission Regulation (EC) No 386/97 of 28 February 1997
Commission Regulation (EC) No 228/2006 of 9 February 2006

Status: Current legislation
European Union
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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government
of the European Union

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2257/94 of 16 September 1994 laying down quality standards for bananas, also known informally as bendy banana law, is a European Union regulation specifying minimum standards for bananas, which took effect on 1 January 1995.[1]


The regulation applies to unripened green bananas, and thus to growers and wholesalers rather than retailers.[2] The main provisions of the regulation are that bananas sold as unripened, green bananas should be green and unripened, firm and intact, fit for human consumption, not rotten, clean, free of pests and damage from pests, free from deformation or abnormal curvature, free from bruising, free of any foreign smell or taste.[1] The minimum size (with tolerances and exceptions) is a length of 14 cm and a thickness (grade) of 2.7 cm. It specifies minimum standards for specific quality classifications of bananas (Extra, Class I, Class II).[1] Only Extra class bananas have to comply fully with the shape specifications. Class II bananas, for instance are permitted to have "defects of shape"; Class I bananas are permitted only "slight defects of shape".[1][3] This is not true, however, of the size specifications; sale of bananas below the minimum size is almost always prohibited (with exceptions only for bananas from a few regions where bananas are traditionally smaller).[1]


The regulation took effect on 1 January 1995. It applies directly, in its entirety, in all member states of the European Union.[1]

Bent bananas

This regulation requires that bananas of the highest quality classification not have "abnormal curvature",[4] something that led to various stories about an EU ban on either curved[5] or excessively curved[6][7] bananas. This has been frequently repeated by pro-Europeans and Euro-sceptics alike; the former tending to regard it as an apocryphal or misleading Euromyth[5][7] and the latter regarding it as an example of needless European bureaucracy.[6][8]

On 29 July 2008, the European Commission held a preliminary vote concerning the repeal of certain regulations related to the quality of specific fruit and vegetables that included provisions related to size and shape. According to the Commission's press release, "In this era of high prices and growing demand, it makes no sense to throw these products away or destroy them." The Agriculture Commissioner stated, "This is a concrete example of our drive to cut red tape and I will continue to push until it goes through. [...] It shouldn't be the EU's job to regulate these things. It is far better to leave it to market operators."[9] Regulation 1221/2008 took effect as of 1 July 2009. Though neither the press release cited above nor Regulation 1221/2008 made any mention of bananas or Regulation 2257/94, some reports of the changes treated them as including the banana quality standards regulation and contained explicit or apparent references this regulation, using expressions such as "the infamous 'straight banana' ruling".[10][11] Some sources have claimed this to be an admission that the original regulations did indeed ban "bent bananas",[12][13] or that it was accepted that it was "a farce".[14] The European Commission has pointed out that as of April 2009 the specific rules for bananas have not been repealed.[15]


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