Eggs by the dozen will be allowed, EU says

Shoppers will be allowed to by eggs by the dozen, or half dozen, politicians at the European Parliament insisted yesterday, after fears Brussels was trying to ban the practice.

By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Editor
Published: 6:59PM BST 29 Jun 2010

The EU said eggs could still be sold by the dozen Photo: GETTY

Reports had suggested that the EU was planning to ban shops from selling eggs by the traditional measure and instead rule that they be sold solely by weight.

Renate Sommer, the German MEP in charge of steering the new food labelling rules through the EU Parliament, was forced to intervene to quash fears that shoppers would have to change the habit of a lifetime.

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"Labels will still be able to indicate the number of food items in a pack, whether of eggs, bread rolls or fish fingers," she said in a statement. However, the weight will also have to be included on the box, which has led to fears that retailers and producers will have to incur extra costs, which will be passed on to shoppers.

The fears of the ban came about because new rules, which have been in discussion for 18 months, made no explicit declaration that goods could continue to be sold by number.

Amendments tabled to make it clear that they could were rejected.

That prompted speculation that the rules as drafted would prevent food being sold by number.

Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, said the EU should allow shoppers to "buy eggs by the dozen".

"We know what customers want. They want to buy eggs by the dozen and they should be allowed to – a point I shall be making clear to our partners in Europe," said UK

Conservative MEP Syed Kamall warned that "millions of pounds could be wasted by shops and bakers having to change packaging just to comply" with the new legislation.

The Grocer trade magazine warned that the legislation "could even see special unit-based promotional packs offering ‘eight chocolate bars for the price of six’ banned".

Ms Sommer said: "Reports that claim the new rules will not allow both the weight and the quantity to be displayed are also wrong. There are four official sizes of eggs – very large (73 grams and over); large (63-73g); medium (53-63g) and small (under 53g). This will not change."

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