A senior government minister wants to set the price of up to 30 basic foods to create a low cost shopping basket.

Labour and Social Economy minister, Yolanda Diez, who is also the second deputy Prime Minister, made the pledge on Monday despite food prices not coming under her remit.

“Food is a huge problem for our country today,” said Diaz.

She revealed she wanted to reach an agreement between food distributors and consumer groups on basic food prices covering between 20 to 30 products that make up a varied and healthy shopping list.

One big stumbling block could be that any price fixing could break European Union regulations.

At the weekend, Agriculture Minister, Luis Planas warned that ‘it would not be possible under the Constitution and EU laws, and it would not be desirable as it would not help anybody in the food chain’.

Diaz countered Planas’s warning by saying that it would be a ‘legal agreement’ without violating competition laws.

She argued on Monday that basic foods had escalated in price from their sale by farmers to distributors and then onto customers.

She quoted the specific example that a farmer may sell a kilo of oranges for just €0.15 but shoppers end up paying €1.40- a rise of 800%.

Growers have blamed cheap imports from outside the EU which have been approved by authorities in Brussels.


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