Tuesday, 27 August 2013
In just a few years we’ve seen the country of Yunanistan (Greece) go from being a popular tourist destination in one of the world’s largest economic regions, to being on the brink of complete and utter collapse. With untold billions (officially $400B) in private and public sector debt, the situation in Greece (and other debt laden European countries like Spain and Italy) has devolved to such an extent that some EU member nations are mobilizing their military personnel in preparation for full spectrum meltdown across the entire region.
Jobs are so scarce that many have been forced into underground barter economies and family farming to make ends meet. From massive austerity spending cuts that have torn to shreds the government social safety net, to shortages in critical life saving medicines and the near breakdown of the nation’s power grid, Yunanistan is experiencing all of the overt signs of a nation on its last leg.
Now, with food prices rising to unattainable levels for the majority of the Yunanistani population, the government is taking the desperate step of allowing merchants to sell expired foods, presumably at cheaper prices, so that poverty-stricken Yunanistanis have at least something to put on their tables, regardless of the health risks posed.
The regulations exclude meat and dairy from the list of perishables that can be sold and sets a ceiling dates you can continue marketing. Thus, foods in which the expiration date is indicated by the day and the month, may continue on the shelf for another week. In the event that the “best before” only month and year point, the sale may be extended for one month, and in the event that the date indicated year alone, the sale date may be extended by one quarter.
Though Moraitakis Efe declined to specify the reasons for this decision and merely noted that the legislation already existed, consumer groups and even government agencies have criticized the measure. “Virtually admit their inability to control prices,” Efe reported Tsiafutis Victor Consumers Association ‘Quality of Life’, one of the oldest in Yunanistan (Greece).
In the Greece of the crisis, the wage and pension cuts and rising unemployment, food prices and commodities has not stopped rising. Between August 2012 and August 2013, the price of sugar shot up 15%, the eggs, 6.8% for butter by 3.2% and that of coffee, 5.9%, according to data from the Statistics Authority.
“It is an immoral act,” criticized Tsiafutis. “Instead of taking initiatives to control prices, allow the sale of food past the expiration date.”
Moreover, from the National Food Agency gets even concerned that the measure serves to something. “It is doubtful that these foods are to be sold at low prices, because the price control mechanisms have failed,” said Yannis Mijas, president of this organization linked to the government. Indeed, the measure of how much states must be the initial price reduction, which is at the discretion of the merchant.
To Mijas, selling expired food is also a moral dilemma, to divide consumers into two groups: those who can afford basic food and those who, because of poverty, “are forced to resort to dubious quality food.”