Con­sumer’s Foun­da­tion blasts ‘un­rea­son­able’ re­tail cost for ‘zongzi’

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY MEGAN VAN VEGTEN

The Con­sumer’s Foun­da­tion (CF, ) yes­ter­day urged the gov­ern­ment to probe “un­rea­son­able” re­tail pric­ing on in­gre­di­ents used to make “zongzi,” the sticky rice dumplings tra­di­tion­ally eaten dur­ing Dragon Boat Fes­ti­val.

The Ex­ec­u­tive Yuan’s Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Com­mit­tee (CPC,

) has re­ported that prices for 40 per­cent of zongzi in­gre­di­ents are more ex­pen­sive this year com­pared to the same pe­riod last year. Find­ings were based on a ran­dom sampling of in­gre­di­ents at seven hy­per­mar­kets.

The in­gre­di­ent prices were marked up at the hy­per­mar­kets them­selves and are not due to in­fla­tion at farms, ac­cord­ing to the CPC.

Ac­cord­ing to a dif­fer­ent sur­vey re­leased by the Coun­cil of Agri­cul­ture (COA, ), farm prices for most ma­jor in­gre­di­ents have stayed the same or gone down com­pared to the same pe­riod last year.

Ac­cord­ing to the COA, farm prices for dried mush­rooms have de­clined by 9.6 per­cent, peanuts by 36.9 per­cent, pork by 8.3 per­cent and whole­sale dried squid by 17.4 per­cent.

Duck eggs are the only tra­di­tional in­gre­di­ent that has seen a sig­nif­i­cant price in­crease — of 5.4 per­cent — com­pared to the same pe­riod last year. The whole­sale price for gluti­nous rice has risen only slightly by 0.9 per­cent while dried shrimp costs about the same, ac­cord­ing to the COA sur­vey, which was re­leased three weeks be­fore Dragon Boat Fes­ti­val.

The CF yes­ter­day urged the Fair Trade Com­mis­sion ( ) to mon­i­tor “un­rea­son­able” re­tail pric­ing for key in­gre­di­ents ahead of the fes­ti­val.

“It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the gov­ern­ment to sta­bi­lize re­tail prices over fes­ti­vals. The re­sults of th­ese sur­veys show that pric­ing is un­rea­son­able,” CF Hon­orary Chair­man Hsieh Tien-jen ( ) said yes­ter­day. “Has gov­ern­ment

reg­u­la­tion

at hy­per­mar­kets weak­ened?” he asked.

In the past, even when the prices of raw ma­te­ri­als shot up, re­tail­ers would abide by cen­tral gov­ern­ment di­rec­tions and keep prices rea­son­able for con­sumers. This time, it seems that the mid­dle­man is en­rich­ing it­self ex­ces­sively, he said.

“If the Ex­ec­u­tive Yuan does not or­der the Fair Trade Com­mis­sion to in­ves­ti­gate which com­pa­nies are in­flat­ing the prices, then what is the point of the Fair Trade Com­mis­sion?” Hsieh said.

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