Thousands of checks to check food prices

Agents responsible for enforcing competition will carry out several thousand checks from Monday to verify that traders are not selling at a loss, said the Minister of Agriculture.

The aim is to enforce the new Agriculture and Food law (Egalim) which aims to ensure that producers can be remunerated at “the right price”. In particular, the law raises the threshold for resale at a loss on foodstuffs by 10% and regulates promotions. “The Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control will carry out 6,000 checks and, from next week, will go to supermarkets, will look at how much things are sold,” said Didier Guillaume . “But we don’t want to impose,” he added. “We are not in an administered economy, but we are taking everyone to witness,” he said.

Two weeks before the end of the traditional commercial negotiations between the food industry and the mass distribution, the milk sector seems to be the one which has made the most progress on the path to determining the “fair price”. Several agreements have been signed between dairy manufacturers, in particular the leader Lactalis, and distributors. “Producers will receive between 350 euros and 400 euros per tonne of milk”, declared Wednesday evening the president of Young Farmers, Jérémy Decerle, in the corridors of the Ministry of Economy and Finance where he was received with other actors of the sector.

“You have to pay more”

On the other hand, negotiations in other sectors appear more difficult. “The account is not there on cereals and meat. I say it very clearly”, said the minister, stressing that the beef sold in supermarkets at 15 euros per kilo is bought 3 euros per kilo from the breeder while its cost price is 5 euros per kilo. Distributors “do not play the game enough. You have to pay more”, said Didier Guillaume.

“They did not make a margin, even they sold less expensive the leading products to get out of the way, to compete with the neighbor, and on the other hand they take a 30% -40% margin on agricultural products. We do not want any more. of that “, insists the minister. Beyond the agreements that could be finally found, there is no guarantee that the margin gained will go down entirely to the small producer, concedes the minister.

“I cannot guarantee it to them. It is contractual”, said Didier Guillaume. The government is counting on “a virtuous circle” so that the right price is put in place throughout France within “two or three years”. “Going from three euros per kilo to 6.0 to 6.50 euros per kilo” of beef is not going to be done all at once, “said Didier Guillaume.

(Source : Reuters)