Government Takes Hard Line on Soft Cheese

Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

The Israeli government has opted to intervene in the dairy market, decreeing price controls on soft white cheese, whipping cream and milk that are expected to reduce prices by as much as 20 percent, Globes reported on Monday.

It marked the first such action since the so-called “cottage cheese protest” which sparked the mass demonstrations of the summer of 2011, which prompted price drops on a number of items.

Minister of Finance Yair Lapid and Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir signed the order placing price controls on 5% soft white cheese and 38% whipping cream.

According to the price list of Tnuva Food Industries, the recommended price of a 250 gram container of 5% soft white cheese to consumers is NIS 6.54. The new controls should bring it down to NIS 5.23. The recommended price to consumers of a 250 milliliter container of 38% whipping cream is currently NIS 8.23, and that should fall to NIS 6.60.

Milk in both plastic bags and cartons will fall by 1.1%. This is due to changes in production costs less a temporary price hike of 3.5% to consumers and 4% to dairies that was approved in October 2012.

Monday’s decision was justified by an assessment submitted by an external accountant appointed by the government, which determined that the profits made by Tnuva on the cheese and cream was “exceptional and unreasonable.”

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