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Volume 929: debated on Wednesday 6 April 1977

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what new system of grading of eggs in the United Kingdom will be required under EEC Regulations; and if he will make a statement.

A five weight grade system for eggs is currently in use in the United Kingdom. When we joined the Community we agreed to adopt the EEC seven weight grade system, but a five-year derogation was allowed to give our industry time to adapt, and this ends on 31st December 1977. The relative merits of five and seven weight grade systems have been widely discussed in trade and producer circles in the Community but this has not let to unanimous agreement for changing the present EEC system.Representatives of all sectors of the United Kingdom trade and a representative of the Consumers Association, who met officials of our Department on 24th March, were agreed that it was now right to plan to make the necessary changeover to the EEC system by the end of the year. The industry sees advantage in carrying through the change during a limited period and envisages that this should be in the autumn. The aim will be to make the changeover as smooth and trouble free as possible. My Department will keep in close touch with those concerned and will give all the help and advice it can.