HC Deb 12 November 1952 vol 507 cc943-4
43. Miss Burton

asked the Minister of Food if he will arrange for eggs to be stamped with the date of reaching the packing centre so that the public may know the time taken in distribution.

Major Lloyd George

No, Sir. Eggs are cleared from the packing centre at least twice a week and on average reach the wholesaler within three days of collection from the farm. Date stamping at the packing centre would not help to establish where the delay had occurred.

Miss Burton

Has the right hon. and gallant Gentleman any suggestions to make at all about what would establish the cause of delay? Is he aware that many of the eggs that we do get in the shops bear very strong evidence of having been longer in transit than he has said?

Major Lloyd George

There is the difficulty, of course, that there is delay between the laying of the egg and its arrival at the packing centre, which is extremely difficult to trace. The actual time taken from the packing station to the wholesaler was in 1950 about five days; it is now about three; and there is plenty of evidence to show that the time taken is actually less than—an improvement upon—that pre-war.

Dr. Stross

Is the Minister not aware that if the dates were stamped on the eggs the housewives would, at least, know whether to boil them or to fry them?

Mr. Usborne

The Minister has been telling the House about the time between the laying of the egg and its reaching the wholesaler; could he tell us how long it takes, on an average, for it to move from the wholesaler to the housewife?

Major Lloyd George

Generally it is held about four days, on an average, by the wholesaler. Then I suppose it might be another four days with the retailer, but it works out at something like 14 days which, as I said, compares favourably with the pre-war practice.

Mr. Nabarro

How is my right hon. and gallant Friend able to account for the fact that while he says that it is 14 days the experience of a very large number of consumers is that eggs under the present system never get to the shops in less than five or six weeks? How does this disparity come about?

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