Courtesy of today’s Metro freebie (published by the same lot as are responsible for the fervently anti-EU Daily Mail):
“Traditional loaves of bread could soon be replaced by packs containing just four slices under a new EU ruling”
It’s a disgrace! How dare these Brussels bureaucrats take away our sliced whites! How dare they presume to allow us to buy only enough bread for a couple of rounds of sandwiches!
Then read on:
“Existing British rules mean packaged bread can only be sold in 400g or 800g packs”
In other words, in an attempt to liberalise the food market, Brussels is planning to abolish such pointless restrictions, allowing consumer demand to shape the size and quantity of packaged food.
It’s not so much “be replaced by” as “be complemented by” – but let’s not allow petty little things like facts or accurate reporting get in the way of a good anti-EU scare story when we’ve got a captive audience of several hundred thousand commuters reading our drivel, eh?
The Metro – mindless dross that it is – carries on (in a wonderful description of a free market system – emphases mine):
“there will now be a free-for-all on sizing for items like ice cream, frozen food, detergents, pet food, low-alcohol drinks, soft drinks, paints, shampoo and toothpaste [at this point the subs can no longer think of additional products and give up]. The EC claims the idea, which could be approved by Euro MPs early next year, will give shoppers as much choice as possible.”
How DARE they give shoppers choice? How DARE they remove pointless domestic regulations that prevent pensioners and single people from being able to buy anything less than half a loaf when all they might want is a few slices (a system that works very well in Japan, amongst other places).
Finally, in the (never-read) second-to-last paragraph, we get the real story:
“The decision replaces 25 national packaging rules and two EU directives on quantities with one single EU-wide law leaving packaging up to market forces”
So no more scare stories of our pints of milk or pounds of butter being under threat – perhaps even an end to the “metric martyrs” business – as all restrictions on how food is packaged are removed in one fell swoop. If this new law is passed and works properly, if the market calls for food to be sold in Imperial measures, food can be sold in Imperial measures.
So, were the Metro to be slightly less rabid in its following of the Associated Newspapers anti-EU line, the story should perhaps have read “The EU does what it’s supposed to do, reducing pointless and restrictive food regulations and freeing up the market”. But as we all know from decades of reading anti-EU scare stories, Brussels NEVER cuts back on regulation. Oh no…