Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Eggs by the dozen? Yes, I think so!

On Sunday, it was reported in The Mail On Sunday that a new EU regulation has been passed which will prevent the selling of eggs by the dozen or indeed, as is more common on our island, by the half dozen. Immediately, the rather surprising number of readers of that particular publication raised their voices as one proclaiming that the European Union have never done anything but meddle in our affairs. There is many an angry person that reads the Mail with the trust afforded to the British press who will believe all of these types of stories, take them under their collective wings and stand as one, opposed to the European Union and everything it stands for. But what should we make of the story? Is Europe creeping at the door and invading everything we stand for, or is this just another example of the misguided half truths that the British press hand us on a platter with the expectation that the nation that will gorge itself?
The answer to that particular question lies in a further article from the daily edition of the paper that went to press on Monday, just one day after the original article. The article, entitled Eggs by the dozen will NOT be banned, say Brussels after backlash by Britain made an attempt to cover the previous articles tracks, although not very effectively, and explain the real laws that had been passed by the European Union. Further reading from other sources reveals the real story behind the hype presented to us by those reporters at the daily mail.
The story behind the myth
The real story, and indeed the proposed legislation behind this report is that the EU are attempting to standardise the way in which food is sold in all shops and supermarkets throughout the nations that it governs. This legislation will require that all items should be sold by weight, or at least have the average weight clearly visible on the packaging. This does not mean that supermarkets can no longer sell items by quantity, but it does mean that the average weight of the package should be in clear view to the proposed consumer. As a result, eggs can still be sold by the dozen or half dozen, but should have an average weight of the contents so that the consumer knows exactly what they are buying.
This law is a step on from the current laws stating exactly what constitutes the size of an egg. There are four official sizes of eggs, those being
- Very large (73g and over)
- Large (63g – 73g)
- Medium (53g – 63g)
- Small (under 53g)
There are many other EU regulations that have been misreported by the British press, and many, many more that have been completely made up. It has almost come to a point where if somebody mentions EU regulations, there is an observable shudder in the shoulders of the recipient to the conversation. So what is it that causes this reaction? The answer, once again is the British press and the lies and misguided half truths that they spout on what would seem an almost daily basis. Every one of us has some story or other that we have heard from the British press which is as much anti-Euro as it is completely untrue.
Straight bananas only!
This is one of my favourites, more because I was aware of when the story first broke, and I have to admit that, for a while at least, I believed it. Alas, it is another one of the Daily Mail’s lazy excuses for journalism. This story comes about from an EU regulation on the size of a banana, and not, as was reported at the time, its shape. Now, I know a lot of people wont see the point in passing a regulation on such a menial thing, and that is probably true in a world where most of the produce we buy is by weight, but if we think of it with a view to the individual banana, this law does actually make sense. If you were to walk into an average sandwich shop tomorrow, you will know doubt see bananas, as well as other fruits on sale for a specific price. The EU regulation states that a shop cannot sell these fruits for the given price if they are under a certain weight. The law was passed to make it fairer on the consumer. If the regulation had not been passed, we may have found ourselves in a situation where a normal sized banana was being sold for the same price as a miniature banana, not half the size of its cousin.
Hair nets for trawler men
Now, this one was actually completely made up. To explain the law that was stated in the press, it was apparent that fishermen were to be forced to wear hair nets whilst fishing in order for the produce to be completely clean from the sea to the supermarket. Once again, the story broke and then propagated around the British press in all of the daily papers to the point where Richard Littlejohn wrote at the time “Oh, what a circus, the safety Nazi’s have forced fishermen to wear hairnets, you couldn’t make it up”. The fact remains, however, that indeed somebody did actually make it up. Two British journalists, who shall forever in this blog remain nameless actually admitted making up the whole thing one night in a bar in Brussels.
In conclusion, whatever your thoughts on the European Union, whether you consider yourself a member of the European Union, or an avid supporter of the island Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, before you begin to believe what you read, take it with a pinch of salt. If you have the time and the resources, research the stories behind what is printed, and do not be too sceptical of the powers that be. Much of the time, their words have been misquoted, or placed unwillingly in their mouths!

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