The line "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you" has long been a comic favorite. As well it should. The Daily Mail reports:
A market trader has been banned from selling a batch of kiwi fruits because they are 1mm smaller than EU rules allow.
Inspectors told 53-year- old Tim Down he is forbidden even to give away the fruits, which are perfectly healthy.
The father of three will now have to bin the 5,000 kiwis, costing him £1,000 in lost sales.
Speaking yesterday from the stall in Bristol he has owned for 20 years, Mr Down said: 'It's total nonsense. I work hard enough to make a living without all these bureaucrats telling us what we can and can't sell.
'They're saying I'm a criminal for selling this fruit, but the real crime is that all this fruit will go to waste - all because it's 1mm too small.
'It's a terrible waste, particularly when we're all feeling the pinch from rising food prices and I've got to throw away this perfectly good fruit.'
The case comes only two weeks after the European Commission said it wants to relax rules on misshapen fruit and vegetables.
It could eventually mean an end to notorious bans on straight bananas, curved cucumbers and skinny carrots.
But that will bring little comfort to Mr Down in the meantime
I certainly feel safer. You can't be too careful when it comes to midget kiwifruit!
Of course, I wish I could say that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has never done anything as stupid. But more than 20 years the Department enforced a "marketing order"--essentially a means to reduce supply and prop up prices--that required the destruction of ugly kiwifruit. If you have seen a kiwifruit before it's been pealed, you know how ridiculous this rule was.