38 ASAE brigades at work; “we will intensify these checks”, says government
Thirty-eight brigades involving 80 ASAE (authority for economic and food safety) inspectors are on the ground today inspecting the prices of foods in hypermarkets and supermarkets, in light of increases running at twice that of inflation.
Speaking to Lusa, Nuno Fazenda, secretary of state for tourism, commerce and services, said the swoop is taking place against the “background that Portugal has a general inflation rate of 8.6% – below the European Union average of 10% – but, with regard to food products, the price of a basic basket increased more than twice the inflation, 21.1%,” in the last year.
“For that very reason, and also because we have, in some products, increases of 40%, 50% and even 70% compared with the previous year, we intend to intensify the monitoring of food prices,” he said.
“We want to convey a word of confidence to consumers. The State is aware, is acting and will intensify this action on the ground,” he promised, adding that ASAE has been busy in the last six months, opening 40 criminal proceedings and around 80 administrative offences over situations of this kind.
incidents include, “monitoring prices given on shelves and those paid at supermarket checkouts…”
Stressing that “the exaggerated rise in prices does no-one any favours, and that includes economic operators themselves”, Fazenda said “Portuguese people will only be able to pay prices that are affordable”, so “attention to the exaggeration of prices at which food products are sold” is imperative.
“This is an effort that calls for everyone. It certainly involves the State and its institutions, but it also involves the operators in terms of strengthening confidence, transparency and social responsibility“.
“The message is very clear: we will intensify these actions over the coming period. The State is attentive and is acting to defend consumers and protect a healthy economy,” he said.
The development follows a recent attack on national television in which political journalist José Gomes Ferreira stressed ‘someone is benefiting’ from inflation, and it is time authorities took action.