Sunday, June 27, 2010

EU Abolishes a Dozen Eggs

You really couldn't make it up. We learn today that the E bloody U wants to interfere in the way eggs, oranges, apples and limes are sold. No longer will we be able to buy eggs by the dozen, or limes individually, shopkeepers will be forced to sell them by weight. I ask you.

I have no particular objection to anything being sold by weight, but why is it that bureaucrats think shopkeepers and their customers aren't capable of deciding themselves how to sell or buy things like eggs or oranges.

Too many bureaucrats, with too much time on their hands. That's what comes of employing them in the first place. If they weren't there we couldn't get these crackpot regulations that serve the purpose of no one apart from the idiot that wrote them in the first place.

And of course tame MEPs then endorse them and put them into law.

It is issues like this that bring the EU into disrepute.


MikeyP said...

So are Dave and Nick going to call for a vote on this in Parliament, then, as promised?

wonkotsane said...

And it's the Conservative Party's support of such a patently wasteful, out of touch, corrupt and unpopular super-quango that brings the Tories into disrepute. We, the people, want out of the EU but Cast Iron Dave and Nick Clegg-over are treasonous EUphiles who will keep us wedded to Brussels for as long as they can get away with it. And they're ably assisted by the false prophet, Dan Hannan the fake eurosceptic MEP (where's your UK office Dan?), who tricks eurosceptic conservatives into thinking there are eurosceptics at the top of the Conservative & European Unionist Party. Traitors the lot of them.

Atticus Finch said...

I wonder what the truth is about the EU / Eggs story. Anyone remember straight bananas?

Rothers said...

Iain, please chillax dude. DRAFT legislation ie not actually law yet, so suggest using a more appropriate tense. Also, have you looked at the source of the story - EU papers, or have you just looked at newspapers (viz the Mail, Telegraph and Grocer)

Sue said...

So much for "taking back power".. Conservative liars, conservative Europhiles, all intent on destroying our national identity bit by bit.

Tim Fenton said...

To say "you couldn't make it up" is quite right - but not for the reasons you set out.

Firstly, this "story" has appeared in the Mail On Sunday, and not AFAIK anywhere else. The stance of any paper ruled over by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre on the EU is known, and is uniformly hostile.

[This is the story:]

Next, consider the wording within the article: "This issue is still being considered by EU member states and it will be some time before the regulation is finalised". Roughly translated, this shows that the MoS article is pre-judging the outcome for its own ends, or, put more directly, it's a scare story.

Then think for a moment about the idea of shoppers being "banned" from buying eggs - or whatever product - by number. Is this what selling by weight means? No, it isn't. Selling by weight does not "ban" also conveying information on numbers. In any case, it will be in the category of the patently obvious how many eggs are contained in the packaging, whether the number is specified or not. Likewise oranges or bread rolls.

So, a Daily Mail (and/or MoS) article written to the order of the Dacre agenda manages to sucker a normally rational if right of centre blogger? You couldn't make it up.

Iain Dale said...

Tim, wrong. it's in the Sunday Times and NOTW too.

Unknown said...

As much as I like watching the right wing get its collective knickers in a twist please report the story accurately.

The weight needs to be displayed. That is all. You will still get 6,12 and 24 egg boxes. Just that the weight of the eggs inside needs to be stated. You dont even need to vary the price per weight.

Its like having the weight of a chicken (which came first in this case) as well as the label saying 'its a chicken'.

Its fair to complain about the EU and its bureaucratic ways at least report things with some degree of accuracy.

ukipwebmaster said...

"It is issues like this that bring the EU into disrepute."

Yah don't say.............!

(Since when did the EU have any repute?)

Andrew said...

Depressing, but of a piece with the refusal to allow us to buy them by the pound as well.

To be fair, it's not always the EU's fault. For example, the criminalisation of greengrocers for selling apples by the pound was Francis Maude's idea back in Maastricht days, for example, using it as bargaining chip for something else.

I forget what the 'something else' was, mainly because it wasn't something important.

jailhouselawyer said...

What drugs are you on with "decising" and "craackpit"?

Word Verification "ressin", that explains a lot...

Johnny Norfolk said...

We wont be selling them by weight in Norfolk I can assure you.

Henry_Tree said...

All the fools clucking here and elsewhere excuse this latest crazy EU rule by "explaining",
"Oh, it just means the weight of the eggs must be displayed, you can still sell them in boxes containg 6 or a dozen."

So that's OK then.

But ... weight a minute ... eggs, bread rolls, oranges, limes etc do *NOT* have to be weighed at the moment. Can any of the cluckers tell me if the millions of eggs (and the other items) packed and sold each week in the UK will then be weighed free of charge by an EU egg weigher?

No! Thought not! So yet another expense added to the price of basic foods thanks to some EU bureaucratic brainfart.

Scott @ loveandgarbage said...

What a spurious post. Have you looked at the regulation concerned? If you do, you will discover, as the hacks relying on the same press release - that wrote the nonsense you appear to be basing your story on - would also discover, that it says nothing of the sort. It's not going to prohibit selling eggs in certain numbers. It's about the displ;ay of nutritional information.

It was debated in the European Parliament over a week and a half ago. The Parliament vote was on amendments to a Commission proposal. It's easy enough to find for anyone that wants to check it - but better to rely on second hand erroneous reports to suit an agenda clearly.

Tim Fenton said...

Iain, so the Screws has also run the story (I'll have to take your word on the ST as I'm not for being pratted about registering just to see the increasingly downmarket offerings of Rupe's not very upmarket troops).

As the Murdoch empire is as uniformly hostile to the EU (though for different reasons) as the Dacre Domain, that merely reinforces my point.

Neither the NotW, nor the MoS (nor your good self!) cite any EU source - let's see what is really proposed, and the (as ever with EU directives) caveats and other get-out opportunities.

I note that you do not otherwise dissent from my previous comments.

DespairingLiberal said...

You make it sound like it was the Commission, but this has actually arised because MEPs voted against an amendment to new Food Labelling Regulations last week that would have allowed individual states to nominate products that could still be sold by number. So it was elected MEPs that decided this.

JohnRS said...

So when do we get a concerted push to force CallMeDave into a proper (ie In/Out) vote on the EU?

Will you support this?

Didnt think so!

Bill Quango MP said...

Straight Bananas: It wasn't a myth. People were told it was a myth by euro lovers, but it wasn't.

Thursday, 13th November 2008

Finally the EU has come clean and admitted that it really did have rules on straight bananas. For years, supporters of the EU have talked about straight bananas as a "euro-myth", a story so ridiculous that only bad people seeking to debunk the EU could have told such dreadful lies.

Odd, then, that the EU Commission has just announced that it is to ditch a whole raft of rules on straight bananas, curved cucumbers and wonky vegetables. Of course euro-realists have been pointing out for years that the European Union really does have regulations on straight bananas (Directive No 2257/94 of 16 September 1994). But somehow the euro-myth story stuck, and the left-wing press never grasped the truth.

Jimmy said...

"You really couldn't make it up."

Since when?

Dave Cross said...

Typical Dale response to Tim above. Completely avoiding the real issue.

Maybe it's true that the story appeared in a number of papers (of course, as usual you forget to show us your sources) but the real point of Tim's comment was that a) this is NOT law and b) the Mail has completely misinterpreted the facts.

Please try harder Iain.

D. Quail (expat) said...

Hello Iain. Just popped in to say thanks for the valuable tabloid refrying service you offer.

I don't like reading the Mail any more and now I don't have to! I can just come here for rehashed Mail stories - but with even less factual content!


Unknown said...

Iain, I have some magic beans if you're interested, a special price for you. Please stop falling for the annual silly season stories about the EU mandating X, Y, Z, difficult to take your well informed commentary seriously when mixed with this guff

Aaron Murin-Heath said...

Guess what... all weights are stated clearly on ALL packs of eggs.

Weight is the primary differentiator for eggs. Always has been. Product is sold in sizes - measured in grams. They are then placed in different formats.

Two things to remember...

1. This will make absolutely no difference to how eggs are traded in the UK

2. So what if it did? Start buying eggs by the gram - they're still bloody eggs!

Faux outrage by the usual suspects.

Anonymous said...

French egg boxes hold six. Half a dozen. Or a dozen. Or any multiple of. So this absolutely ludicrous idea will not happen. At least for eggs.

Quinn said...

Previously on anti-EU bullshit: You can't by bananas in pounds! Even though you can, and no one buys them by weight anyway.

The week: You have to buy eggs by weight! Even though you buy them by number, and can continue to do so, as long as the weight is displayed.

And so parody feeds reality in the world of the Eurosceptic. Have any of you considered writing the next series of Doctor Who?

DespairingLiberal said...

You're a liar Bill Quango.

Commission Regulation (EC) 2257/94 said that bananas must be "free from malformation or abnormal curvature".

Far from being irrationally anti-business, this was part of a general cave-in by the EU Commission at that time to business interests - the big banana growers could guarantee a standard shape and they wanted to exclude small growers from the market.

As with many other Daily Mail-type deliberate "misperceptions", the reality behind the headlines is more commonly one of the EU toadying to big companies' lobbyists than it is bringing in absurd and pointless regulation.

Anonymous said...

The French sell eggs in cartons of six, twelve or almost any multiple thereof.

So it won't happen.

steve said...

We should still sell them in 12s and just the label the box as 10.

An organization that fails to balance its books year on year can't be too hot numbers.

Catholic Conclave said...

No this is not a straight banana story- I have written the legislative details here RegMat: Dozen Eggs under threat

To summarise the fate of the Dozen is in the hands of some obscure committee buried deep in the Commission. Best wishes to one and all from Brussels.

I doubt if a role call vote was taken on the specific amendment but will have been taken on the whole legislation. The voting has not been published yet.

It is not beyond technology for every single vote which every member of the ECR takes to be made public, even if not required by the Parliament.

Unknown said...

The real question here is why are the EU even discussing such piddling little issues.
We are paying these bureaucrats millions in our taxes simply to sort out how many bloody eggs to put in a box.
Our government plans 25% cuts in most of its departments why not have a 25% cut in EU funding by all its member states.

Span Ows said...

DespairingLiberal said...

You're a liar Bill Quango.

Commission Regulation (EC) 2257/94 said that bananas must be "free from malformation or abnormal curvature".

So far from being a liar you prove his I guess that makes YOU the liar.

Thank you Gillibrand for that info and Peter makes the real point (as did Iain)

Bill Quango MP said...

Despairing Liberal

What part of
Commission Regulation (EC) 2257/94 said that bananas must be "free from malformation or abnormal curvature".

is a lie?
'Free from' or 'abnormal curve?'

Unsworth said...

@ Despairing Liberal

Takes one to know one, doesn't it?

I'm still waiting for a writ.

DespairingLiberal said...

Don't be daft Bill - "abnormal" means abormal. What shape do you think a banana is normally?

Anthony Z said...

Glad to see that the commenters here are pointing out the obvious: its a draft regulation that isn't law, and doesn't do what the Mail says it would.

As for why the EU are bothering with this, it's their job to set labelling standards. Common standards is one of the basic underpinnings of being a single market and free trade area. It's the same with metric measurements (but you're free to sell me 568ml of lemonade if it makes you feel better).

And to all the "we the people insist on leaving the EU" types (who don't speak for me) it's worth remembering that labelling rules are something we'd still have to comply with if we left the EU (for goods sold into the EU) - we just wouldn't have a say over what the rules were. Mmm, taste the sovereignty.

Unsworth said...

@ Quinn

"You can't by bananas in pounds! Even though you can, and no one buys them by weight anyway."

Do much shopping for groceries?

Try Sainsbury's, ASDA, Tesco, etc. The self-checkouts can be fun.

When the nice lady in the checkout machine tells you to 'Please select from popular items', one of the three items immediately shown onscreen is - Bananas!

Now, I'm on first-name terms with the lady in the machine. We get along just fine. I think it's sad that everyone ignores her so. I make a point of dropping by to have a little chat with her each time I visit the supermarket. True, her conversational ability is a touch limited and maybe even slightly repetitive - but she's a game girl, she always insists on weighing my banana. Sometimes, on a very good day, she'll want to weigh my plums, too.

I guess nobody chooses or selects bananas by weight, but they certainly purchase (buy) them that way.

Nosemonkey said...

First, please note that this legislation has been pending for two and a half years.

Second, perhaps people might try reading the actual proposal before getting all excited:

Short version:

1) At no point is selling eggs by the half dozen banned.

2) The weight proposal is actually intended to replace existing requirements to include insane levels of detail on packaging.

So, erm, you're actually complaining about a proposal to *reduce* burdensome EU regulation...

Iain's entirely right on one point, though - it is indeed issues like this that bring the EU into disrepute: Ignorant UK-focussed political commentators straying into territory they don't understand while pretending to their readers that they're experts.

Osama the Nazarene said...

I cannot believe this story to be true, regardless of which papers it has appeared in.

On the other hand if by some remote mischance it is true then we should be supporting more "sell by the dozen" and "Sell individual items" martyrs as happened with imperial weights.

Bill Quango MP said...

DL: Its a small point but it was you who said I was 'A Liar'

I assume that this a lie in the socialist sense. As in, Hans Blix is a liar because he said there weren't any WMD, which there weren't, so he was lying?!

The issue is neither bent nor straight bananas or how legislation came into existence. You wrote that I lied, then produced the evidence to support exactly what I had written.

You may need to look up truth in the dictionary as I don't believe that you understand the meaning.

Perhaps you meant to say "Mr Quango, you are misinformed about the nature of Commission Regulation (EC) 2257/94, and should be aware of the reasons for its inclusion in the legislation of the European union."
A mouthful I grant you, but more accurate.

Penfold said...

Assuming the story has legs;
Well let's just ignore the E bloody U. What will they do? fine us?

Otherwise we need to strangle this piece of putative legisaltion at birth.
More importantly, havn't these people in Brussels heard there's an international credit crisis/global recession out there. Shouldn't more important issues be at the fore of their thought processes.
They now need us more than ever before with our positive cash inflows and they know it.
So we tell them where to put their propositions, sideways prefably and then ask nicely about CAP, CFP and reducing very sharply the Brussels budgets.

Jimmy said...

"True, her conversational ability is a touch limited and maybe even slightly repetitive"

Too easy

Libertarian said...


I've got a chicken, she lays some eggs that I sell at the gate to local passers by.

I have tried but she wont lay eggs which have 87g printed on them.

Naughty chicken, do you think she is a Daily Mail reading Little Englander Chicken?

Why are the EU involved, what use is it to me knowing what the weight of 6 eggs is? Why should people incur extra labelling costs for no apparent benefit?

Jonathan Bagley said...

So let's leave.

Jonathan Bagley said...

So should we leave then?

Quinn said...


"I guess nobody chooses or selects bananas by weight".

Which was exactly my point, perhaps poorly expressed. The price may be based on the weight, but no one, I would suggest, goes out with the intention of buying a pound of bananas. But even if they do want to, they can, and always could.

Unsworth said...

@ Quinn

OK. Semantics. Define 'buys' etc etc. We could be here for the next decade, and I've got to get down to ASDA to buy some potatoes.

Now, do I buy the 2kg bag or just get some large loose King Edwards? See? It's opened up a whole new realm of indecision for me....

Quinn said...

Do as you like, Unsworth. Nothing to stop you from doing either.

Roger Thornhill said...

@Douglas "The weight needs to be displayed. That is all."

Replace "weight" with "yellow star" and the penny might just drop for you.

The "that is all" mentality, the salami slicing, creeping Fabian control-freakery, the condescending pat-on-the-head appeasing to shut people up. Not you, but the EU, the way they "allow" us to have labelling in dozens. Oh, THANK EU, your EXCELLENCY.

There are so many things in this world that warrant Man's concentrated brain power and what is the EU doing? Discussing the labelling of egg boxes.


Adam said...

This is simply not true. In a draft legislation, there was an omission of a provision for selling by numbers. There is no indication (or possibility) that this will be made into law of any kind

From the telegraph: 'A spokeswoman said the draft law was "an oversight" rather than a serious proposal. '

bentham said...

Oh surprise:

EP rapporteur denies ban on selling eggs by the dozen

In reaction to erroneous press reports, MEP Renate Sommer denied that the effects of current proposals for food labelling would ban selling eggs by the dozen. "There will be no changes to selling foods by number. Selling eggs by the dozen, for example, will not be banned," said Sommer, who is steering the legislation through the European Parliament. Parliament voted a series of amendments on food labelling legislation on 16 June in first reading. The legislative procedure is therefore still ongoing and may not end until late 2011.


Village Bookworm said...

Lots of supermarkets sell them in 4s 10s or 15s anyway now.

I think they should be in 7s and 11s. A dozen is a bit too much, half a dozen is not quite enough.

Lou said...

The European Parliament issued a statement refuting the claims. Do you think you might post the correction and admit you made it all up?

"EU MEPs are neither trying to ban the sale of eggs by the dozen nor the sale or marketing of Nutella. MEP Renate Sommer, who is steering legislation on food labelling through the European Parliament, said, "There will be no changes to selling foods by number. Selling eggs by the dozen, for example, will not be banned.

Selling eggs by the dozen will not be illegal under the terms of the amendments adopted by the European Parliament to EU food labelling proposals. Labels will still be able to indicate the number of food items in a pack, whether of eggs, bread rolls or fish fingers.

Reports that claim the new rules will not allow both the weight and the quantity to be displayed are also wrong. The new food labelling regulation does not affect existing EU rules on the size of eggs: There are four official sizes of eggs: very large (73g and over), large (63g to 73g), medium (53g to 63g), and small (under 53g) - this will not change"


SadButMadLad said...

I doubt we'll see an update to this story by Iain acknowleding that the story is a non-story.

Just because it's in the Times still doesn't make it a true story. All MSM publish these kinds of stories without much research or fact checking because they are all staffed by churnalists.

Unknown said...

So many people in this country and have lost the ability to think for themselves. Its quite pathetic as they blindly believe everything they read in the papers or read on the news. Even more annoying are idiots like Iain who then rebroadcast this nonsense with added venom in support if their ill informed political views.

The Slurper said...

Well, common sense, EU statements and the text of the proposal itself all tell me the story's a load of nonsense, but a handful of downmarket and nakedly anti-EU papers tell me otherwise. Good thing we have these incisive bloggers like Iain to separate fact from fiction. Or perhaps let the fiction lie?

In other words, we're still waiting on a correction, Iain.

The Slurper said...

Well, common sense, EU statements and the text of the proposal itself all tell me the story's a load of nonsense, but a handful of downmarket and nakedly anti-EU papers tell me otherwise. Good thing we have these incisive bloggers like Iain to separate fact from fiction. Or perhaps let the fiction lie?

In other words, we're still waiting on a correction, Iain.

Mark said...


Why did you publish this rubbish Ian? Are you a naive idiot or a liar Ian? We're all desperate to know!