Fruit and vegetables deemed too misshapen to be sold to consumers can be stocked in supermarkets from Wednesday (1 July) thanks to changes to EU marketing regulations.

Until now, retailers have believed irregular-shaped produce could not be sold due to their imperfections.

But clarification of EU rules simplify how retailers can market produce without misleading consumers.

Jim Fitzpatrick, food and farming minister, said the simplified rules would help retailers label produce correctly and offer more choice for people who are not concerned by the shape of fruit or vegetables.

“It also means that producers and suppliers won’t be stuck with as many leftovers, so there’ll be less food waste,” he added.

Twenty-six types of fruit and vegetables will now be covered by General Marketing Standards, which mean retailers will be able to market them without giving the impression produce is imperfect.

So long as it is clean, free from pests or diseases, is not rotten, and is labelled with the country of origin, retailers will be able to market produce as they see fit.

Ten other types of produce remain subject to Specific Marketing Standards, which are stricter, but there is an allowance for the fruit and vegetables covered to be marketed for processing if they fall below the standard.