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Greek Consumer Group Will Boycott Dairy Products Over High Prices

ATHENS  – Unhappy with jumping prices of dairy products which are supposed to be contained, the General Federation of Consumers of Greece (INKA) said it would boycott them from Feb. 13-20 in protest.

The New Democracy government had worked with supermarket chains to hold down prices on 51 essential items under a so-called Household Basket scheme but Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis backed away from a pledge to lower the 24 percent Valued Added Tax (VAT) on food.

INKA said the boycott would cover milk, cheese and yogurt, said the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency AMNA, although it wasn’t said what would happe in the case of families or children who need them as necessities.

The anger was directed mostly at milk prices although even domestic cheeses have seen big price hikes as well as feta, perhaps the most iconic of them, with some brands nearly $7 a pound.

INKA said the move came at the demand of consumers struggling to provide with the cost of going to the supermarket becoming almost prohibitive for some and the government relying on the sector volunteering to help.

“We ask consumers/citizens to not buy these products for a week. We are the power of the market…let us take care of our wallets and our pockets, let us protect the income that some want to steal without an ounce of logic or morality, as they are simultaneously reducing the quantities in the same product packages,” INKA said.

That came as the major opposition SYRIZA, trying to close a gap of almost 6 percent in surveys, railed against Mitsotakis’ New Democracy government over the prices of food and said not enough is being done about it.

Previous government had moved to break up a dairy cartel that was considered an oligopoly, with now five major companies having 40 percent of the market and cheese alone a more than $1.5 billion industry in the country.

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