Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Tom Hayes, has responded to calls for the government to intervene and prevent supermarkets from selling fruit and vegetables below cost in the run up to Christmas.
Fianna Fail's Éamon Ó Cuív called on the government to take "firm action" to prevent a repeat of the "debacle at Christmas time two years ago", which saw the "virtual giving away of vegetables, and the destruction it caused to our horticulture industry."
In response, Minister Hayes said that "I have had discussions with the supermarkets but I am precluded by law from dictating to them. I cannot interfere with pricing. We have to very careful about that because it is written in law. I have encouraged them and spoken to them but I have to be very careful about it.
Minister Hayes added that following discussions last year with the supermarket groups, "we did not have a repeat of what happened the previous year.
"I hope, coming into this Christmas, the supermarkets will abide by the general thrust of what they have told me. I do not condone or want them to be doing it. It is bad for the product and for encouraging people to eat vegetables. It sets vegetables out as product that is being dumped."
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones