asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will increase the number of inspections at British ports to check the number of eggs being imported from France.
We maintain a regular system of checks on imported eggs, both at the ports and at wholesale distribution points, to ensure compliance with the EEC regulations on labelling and quality. I will keep these arrangements under review. But since similar checks have to be made on home-produced eggs the volume of trade means that we shall have to continue to work on a sample basis.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will investigate the dumping of French eggs on the home market.
I am of course prepared to consider evidence that eggs from any source are being dumped in our market.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received about the current problems of egg production in the United Kingdom; what replies he has given; and whether he will make a statement.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many representations he has now received from British egg producers about French imports; and what replies he has sent.
We have received representations from five producer organisations, and I met the Chairman of the Eggs Authority on Wednesday February 12th to discuss the present situation in the egg market. My right hon. Friend's replies to these representations were delayed because he was for most of last week in Brussels for discussions in the Council of Ministers on common agricultural prices. We have, however, made it clear that we recognise the anxiety fe amongst United Kingdom producers about the current level of prices in the egg market, and that we are ready to discuss with the industry ways in which supply might be brought into line with demand at remunerative prices within the Community.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the number of eggs being sold in the United Kingdom at prices below the cost of production.
I cannot give an estimate of this kind. I am well aware that the egg market generally is weak at the moment, but both costs of production and prices received will vary from one producer to another. I could only give the estimate asked for if I had access to the books of individual producers.