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1968: Egg board 'should be scrapped'
The Egg Marketing Board should be scrapped and a free market established, according to a report published today.

The report, compiled by the government-appointed Reorganisation Commission Marketing Board, also said an independent authority should be set up to oversee the industry.

It also said the Little Lion trademark stamped on eggs should be dropped.

But many smaller egg producers fear the move, which also includes the withdrawal of a 22 million subsidy, will put them out of business and free pricing will mean greater market fluctuations.

The report comes in the wake of huge criticism of the Egg Marketing Board's policies during its 12 year existence and a major reorganisation of the entire egg industry is now expected.

The Egg Marketing Board, which was set up in December 1956 to stabilise the egg market in near slump conditions, currently handles 8,280 million eggs every year.

But the commission claims that, not only has the board failed to achieve market stability, it has shielded many producers from a competitive market which, in turn, has led to inefficiency and poor quality.

'Go to work on an egg'

The report says: "Our broad conclusion is that the board has not achieved the objectives defined for the scheme at the time of its promotion and that its operations in recent years have not been in the best interests of producers or consumers generally."

The total expenses of the board, according to the report, has risen from 14.7 million in 1958 to 23.8 million in 1968, but its income fell by several thousand pounds.

During the past decade the board has spent more than 12 million on advertising, which has included famous slogans like "Go to Work on an Egg".

But the lion logo has ultimately been viewed as unsuccessful and has failed to convince consumers of the quality of eggs.

Most housewives, says the report, would prefer to buy "farm-fresh" eggs.

The Minister of Agriculture, Cledwyn Hughes, has given organisations affected by the recommendations in the report until 31 July to submit their views.

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Eggs on production line

In Context
The British Egg Marketing Board was set up in 1957 to buy all eggs produced in the UK, grade them to a national standard, stamp a "Little Lion" on the egg as a mark of quality, and market those eggs through registered packhouses.

A pool price was paid to producers for all first quality eggs, and second quality and sample eggs were broken out for industrial use.

The Board deducted a levy from producers, based on the number of eggs sent to packhouses, for its administration and to support research, education, PR and advertising.

The Board closed in 1971.

Today the British Egg Industry Council, a voluntary body representing 80% of the country's egg industry, oversees quality, safety and research as well as the promotion of eggs. It reintroduced the lion mark in 1998.

Now three out of every four eggs produced in Britain are stamped with the lion, which means they come from hens vaccinated against disease.

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