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Europe's Surging Food Prices: EU Agriculture Commissioner Says no Threat of Bread Disappearing - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

In a SPIEGEL interview, EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel discusses the dramatic rise of food prices in Europe and seeks to quell fears that cultivation of crops for fuel is going to pose a major problem on the continent.

 EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel on food price hikes: "We are starting from a very low level, and we should always bear that in mind." SPIEGEL: Ms. Fischer Boel, hardly a day goes by without bad tidings about drastic rises in food prices. Do European consumers need to get used to the fact that everything is getting more expensive?

Fischer Boel: Yes, but we are starting from a very low level, and we should always bear that in mind. For the past 20 years, people have been accustomed to food prices that have almost always fallen. Even when the price of wheat doubles, as has now happened, there is still no reason for it to cause across-the-board lamentations: The raw material accounts for a maximum of 4 percent of the price of a bread loaf.

SPIEGEL: But the prices of agricultural raw materials like wheat or rapeseed are reaching new record levels almost daily. Will this trend continue?

Fischer Boel: I do believe that wheat prices will reach a significantly higher level than we have been accustomed to so far. The meat market will also feel the squeeze -- with some delay -- due to the higher prices of feed. There, especially, we must certainly still expect additional price increases.

by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:52:22 PM EST
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