14 NOVEMBER 1958, Page 24


SIR,—In your issue of October 31 under this heading Y join the adverse criticism of the BEMB's 'lett offices. You add 'there can be no possible justifieol',°0 for this purchase.' Such a pontifical condeinnat'°,,t should be based on greater knowledge of the Cl( and scope of the British Egg Marketing Board's tivities than we feel your writer possesses. Howe the we can accept—and even hope to survive Spectator's disapproval. ed. You ask three questions, which shall be answered First: 'Should the marketing organisations be ec'"', pulsorily imposed on the producers?' tiro' We are no more 'compulsorily imposed two° rehis ducers' than the present Government is upon .ad country. The British Egg' Marketing Scheme "to many adverse critics who were all given a chase? e. air their views at the gublic Enquiry in 1956. Srishe quently a vote from producers was taken and Board was voted into being by over 90 per cent. ,,,so Second: 'If there is a single board, under vy"'" control should it be?': are This and the` other observations after IL ,,of, criticisms which should be aimed at the Goveromiet, not at us. It is a criticism of the Agricultural Mar,ber ing Acts under the terms of which we and °` marketing bo Iards exist. Third: f there is to be a board in the present times, how can its activities be controlled?' Aaer We have on the Board, besides seventeen 01°`, of members, four members appointed by the Min's' of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the SecretarYon, State for Scotland and the Secretary of State 'cook cerned with agriculture in Northern Ireland to of after the consumers' interests. These are all MI of wide experience in business outside the field agriculture. Your remarke about the age of eggs W

they reach the housewife was answered last August; but we should like to repeat that we have no powers over the wholesale and retail trades. Lastly, you refer to the Committee on Public Accounts' report. You omit to state that these accounts covered a period before the Board started trading operations on July 1, 1957. You also omit to state that during the trading year ended March 30, 1958, the Board returned £1,700,000 to the Treasury, this sum representing the amount of subsidy the Board had saved owing to successful marketing.— Yours faithfully, W. S. MITCHELL British Egg Marketing Board,

109 Waterloo. Road, SE1 Publicity Manager • [(1) That the majority of egg producers should wish to form a ring is understandable: they can make nigher profits that way. But it appears illogical that, .a time when the restrictive practices court was being set up to smash rings elsewhere, the Govern- ment should have brought this one into existence. In any case, the fact that the majority approve is not necessarily an argument for imposing their will on

tile minority who disapprove—however small it may be.

(2) Agreed.

(3) 'Appointed by the Minister to look after con- sumers' interests' indeed! No doubt Beelzebub appoints demons to look after the interests of the souls of the damned. Why shouldn't the, consumers Choose their own representatives? And so far from answering our remarks last August about the age of eggs, the Egg Marketing Board has still not replied to the two questions Leslie Adrian put to them :

(a) Why can eggs • not be stamped with the date they leave the packing stations? (b) Why does the Board persist in implying, in its. television advertising, that the lion stamp gives some kind of guarantee of freshness when they admit that, as they have no control over the eggs after they leave the packing stations, it does nothing of the kind?

---Editor, Spectator.]