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Italian group calls off pasta strike after costs fall, but produce prices still pinch

FILE - A customer looks at packages of pasta on sale in a supermarket in Milan, northern Italy, on June 8, 2023. Italians can celebrate lower pasta prices but must face higher prices across the board for fruit and vegetables. Italy’s industry ministry reported last week that prices of pasta had fallen by an average of 0.3 per cent in May compared with a month earlier, saying that a monitoring system it set up had the intended effect of reducing prices. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File) FILE - A customer looks at packages of pasta on sale in a supermarket in Milan, northern Italy, on June 8, 2023. Italians can celebrate lower pasta prices but must face higher prices across the board for fruit and vegetables. Italy’s industry ministry reported last week that prices of pasta had fallen by an average of 0.3 per cent in May compared with a month earlier, saying that a monitoring system it set up had the intended effect of reducing prices. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)
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MILAN -

Italians can celebrate lower pasta prices but must face higher prices across the board for fruit and vegetables.

Italy's industry ministry reported last week that prices of pasta had fallen by an average of 0.3 per cent in May compared with a month earlier, saying that a monitoring system it set up had the intended effect of reducing prices.

As a result, the Assoutenti consumer group called off a pasta strike planned for this week, intended to force down prices by reducing demand.

President Furio Truzzi told The Associated Press, however, that despite the overall decreases, pasta prices are obstinately high in some cities and that the group was still considering targeted strikes later this summer.

The price of a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of pasta had dropped to 2.12 euros ($2.32) in the Adriatic port city of Ancona from a high of 2.44 euros in March, and to 2.02 euros in Genova from a peak of 2.38 euros. The price dipped below 2 euros in many cities.

But inflation is still an issue for Italian kitchens. Vegetable prices in May rose an average of nearly 15 per cent over the previous year, accelerating from an 11 per cent increase in April, while potato prices went up 22 per cent, compared with the nine per cent increase registered a month earlier, according to the Italian statistics agency, ISTAT.

Assoutenti is pushing for a similar monitoring board for fruit and vegetable prices, which it said could be the result of speculation tied to recent storms that damaged some crops.

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