• The EU Egg Directive: Where do we go from here?

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    Above is Frau Doktor Renate Sommer, Mitglied des Europäischen Parlaments für Nordrhein-Westfalen. She is a member of the Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands, part of the Europäische Volkspartei. She can be contacted at the Europäisches Parlament, Rue Wiertz. ASP 10E154 B-1047 Brüssel.

    This is the lady who as the Europäischen Parlament Rapporteur is the one responsible for the bro-ha-ha vis-à-vis the selling of eggs by weight and not by number.

    The Eurosceptic newspaper the Daily Mail fulminated against this proposal drawing comments from British food industry sources stating that the Frau Doktor’s proposals were bonkers, that the eggs would now have to be weighed &c.

    As Eurorealists we do ourselves no favours by putting forth arguments that our enemies can so easily shoot holes through. It comes as no surprise whatsoever to the British Gazette to see the Daily Mail fulminate so. Many people critical of the never to be sufficiently damned abomination that is the European Union believe the Daily Mail to be on their side. The Daily Mail however is only on the side of the Daily Mail. Frequently seen to lambast the EU the Daily Mail will attack the EU and its institutions but has not and will not wield the killer blow by advocating withdrawl or by stating that the UK’s membership is unconstitutional. The Europhile establishment likes the Daily Mail as it stirs things up just enough to serve as a safety value to delude most Eurosceptic Britons that “there is someone on our side” whilst never actually opposing the UK’s EU membership. The Daily Mail will always want to stir things up to keep the Conservative party Eurosceptic but it will not ever support the Eurorealist cause. Because of this the Daily Mail has no concerns about publishing articles such as Christopher Leake’s on the 27th June, 2010.

    The fact is that Frau Doktor Sommer’s proposals (so far as the sale of eggs is concerned) appear to be perfectly OK and might actually offer the producers of eggs an easier regime to follow! The British Gazette’s objection to the good doctor’s proposals are that they should not be coming from Brussels in the first place! We would suggest to Frau Doktor Sommer that her own constituents in North Rhine Westphalia may wish to decide such things for themselves and not have such regulations imposed upon them from a foreign capital.

    The lady is of the opinion that her proposed regulations will not take effect until possibly 2014 but expects the food industry to implement the proposals before then.

    We at the British Gazette now have to explain ourselves as to why we consider Dr. Sommer’s proposals appear to be sensible. At the moment eggs in the UK can be sold by number – as they always have been. What such as the Daily Mail FAIL to point out however is that the selling of eggs is already governed by EU rules! Eggs sold in the UK have to be categorised in four groups: very large (73g and over); large (63-73g); medium (53-63g) and small (under 53g). Clearly, egg producers have to weigh each egg already during the grading process prior to putting the different sized eggs in packaging classed as very large, large, medium and small! Under the new proposals the egg producer appears to need only weigh the eggs in the numbers they wish to sell them. Thus for a producer wishing to sell eggs by the half dozen they need to do the following:
    First: Weigh the empty egg carton (only needed to be done once).
    Second: Put six eggs in carton.
    Third: Weigh said eggs and carton.
    Fourth: Subtract the weight of empty carton from the above figure!
    Simples! As the TV meerkat would say.

    The British Gazette understands that Frau Doktor Sommer does NOT intend to stop any retailer from selling a dozen eggs or a half dozen eggs. The question we as Eurorealists have to ask is this: Where do we go from here? Well the British Gazette considers that Frau Doktor Sommer has handed the Eurorealist cause in the UK a rather propitious rallying point. Many will recall the late Steve Thorburn and his gallant fight to sell foodstuffs in pounds and ounces – the traditional weights and measures of this country. Those seeking to follow in Mr. Thorburn’s footsteps have difficulty as Trading Standards have ensured that Imperial scales are not certified, therefore forcing retailers to sell in the foreign system of kilos and grams. Frau Doktor Sommer’s regulations however offer an opportunity for a rebellion. How?

    It is a fact that a small scale egg production business is a relatively simple and low cost business to set up. It requires a modest amount of capital and a small amount of land. What it also requires is a good location – an area which has many visitors, and somebody in the house morning and evenings. The hen coop is a relatively simple structure – for a small number of hens. Considerable attention has to be paid to the erection of fox and bird of prey proof fencing – to avoid loosing the laying hens to such predators. The eggs have to be collected every morning. They can be weighed, packaged up and sold fresh at the farm (or other) gate. Travel through the British countryside and you will frequently see such small scale enterprises advertising their product as free range eggs. What the British Gazette suggests is this:
    That such producers follow Frau Doktor Sommer’s regulations – up to a point. That point is the display of the weight on the carton. Each egg producer will of course have to have their own set of Trading Standards certified metric scales for the weighing of the eggs. What the British Gazette suggests is that the weight of eggs be displayed in ounces and not grams. Since 1 ounce = 28.3495231 grams, one need only divide the figure on the scales by this number. Easy with an electronic calculator. Since the Tory members in this Brokeback government are going to expostulate about Frau Doktor Sommer’s proposals they will appear as impotent eunuchs were any Trading Standards Officer to prosecute such an egg producer!

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