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Thursday, 09 September 2010

Fair food prices: new legislation needed, say MEPs

The bargaining positions of all players in the human food chain must be rebalanced, and fair competition enforced by law, to ensure fair returns to farmers and price transparency to consumers, says Parliament in a resolution voted on Tuesday. In a report drafted by José Bové (Greens/EFA, FR) and approved by a show of hands, MEPs suggest ways to tackle abuse of dominant positions, unfair commercial and contractual practices and late payments, and to improve producers' position in the food market. The report, a response a Commission communication, sets out MEPs' ideas on to improve the functioning of the food supply chain for the benefit of producers and citizens.

New legislation to enforce fair competition

Codes of good commercial practice, including penalties and a complaint mechanism should be put in place, to counter unfair behaviour by market players, say MEPs. To monitor trading relations between producers and retailers and if necessary rebalance them, an EU-wide instrument could be implemented through specialised bodies in the Member States, they add. Measures to be taken should include an analysis of possible misuse of private labels, i.e. retailers' "own brand" products and a pilot project to create an EU farm prices and margins observatory.

Parliament urges the Commission to table legislative proposals to limit dominant market positions at all stages of the supply chain, from the input sector, through the food processing industry to retailers, says the text, adding that companies committing unfair practices should be "named and shamed".

 Source: European Parliament