Officials suggested stamping Northern Ireland-produced eggs with the Red Hand of Ulster to balance out the appearance of a shamrock.
The issue of how to identify local eggs was causing civil servants some unease in the 1980s. Initially it was suggested that a shamrock could be used, but there were fears this would lead to "adverse criticism", so officials felt that adding a Red Hand would make the eggs more appropriate.
The controversy developed after the Egg Authority decided to run an advertising campaign to promote the sale of eggs.
Logos for English, Scottish and Welsh eggs were chosen without much trouble. However, one civil servant observed: "A logo for Irish eggs is apparently presenting them with some difficulty."
It had been planned to include eggs produced in the Republic with those from Northern Ireland – but this idea was dropped.
Officials were left trying to find a logo to accompany the statement: "Produced in Northern Ireland."
A memo stated: "The advertising agency had proposed to use a shamrock alone but this might produce adverse criticism and I suggest that the shamrock with the Red Hand in the centre might be more appropriate."
Other officials raised doubts about the value of a regional symbol at all.