OECD reports that Greek consumers pay 34% more for fresh milk
The price of milk in Greece is about 34% more expensive that in other European countries, which is remarkable considering the dramatic reduction of income in recent ears. The OECD’s report on consumer prices in Greece has prompted a discussion regarding the shelf life of milk, as well as the working definition of “fresh milk”, in an effort to reduce prices.
At present, Greek legislation states that “fresh milk” is pasteurized and has a five-day shelf-life. According to the OECD, this prevents foreign dairy industries from importing their cheaper milk, increases the cost of returns for the dairy companies amd restricts the development of internal competition.
The Ministry of Growth accepts these claims and is planning on passing a number of reforms in order to reduce the cost for the consumer, while giving dairy producers the opportunity to expand their reach, which is hindered by the short life-span of their product. By employing various pasteurization techniques compliant with EU legislation, the maximum shelf-life of milk can be extended.
On the contrary, the Ministry of Agricultural Development, producers, dairy farmers, cooperative industries and even PASOK are more reserved and concerned about the planned changes. The fear is that reforms will simply open the floodgates for cheap imports, which will devastate domestic dairy farms, especially since they are now unable to label the origin their product.
The high consumer cost of milk is party attributed to the high cost of production, which is the fifth overall amongst the 28 EU members. This however is not due to profiteering, but rather a number of practical and climate reasons. Unlike northern European countries, Greece has an animal food deficit and as such dairy farmers have resort to imports, which can be up to 60% more expensive.