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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 15 Jun 1999

Vol. 506 No. 2

Written Answers. - Price Increases.

Seán Haughey


114 Mr. Haughey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if her attention has been drawn to the fact that prices are being increased by reducing the size of products; if this situation will be monitored; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15401/99]

I am not aware of any complaints regarding prices being increased by reducing the size of products. The price of products sold by retail is not controlled by legislation – price levels are determined by the market. In that regard, it is Government policy to encourage competition and to promote greater price awareness among consumers.

A number of statutory instruments, made under the Merchandise Marks Act, 1970 – No. 10 of 1970 – prescribe ranges of sizes within which specified products must be sold. For example, fresh milk, sugar and jam may not be packed, imported or sold by retail except in the sizes listed in the relevant orders. The ranges of sizes legislation also provides that, for specified products, including cheese, paint and household disinfectants, the net quantity of the goods in the container must be indicated in units of weight or volume. In addition, the European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Foodstuffs) Regulations, 1982, as amended, provide, inter alia, that the net quantity should be given for almost all pre-packaged foodstuffs.

The European Communities (Indication of Prices of Foodstuffs and Non-Food Products) Regulations, 1991, as amended, require, with certain general and specific exemptions, that the selling price of all foodstuffs and non-food products must be displayed and that the unit price, £ per litre) must also be shown in specified cases. False or misleading indication of prices is prohibited under section 7 of the Consumer Information Act, 1978 – No. 1 of 1978.

I am satisfied that the combination of the above legislative measures, that is, the ranges of sizes legislation, the food labelling legislation and the indication of prices legislation, ensures adequate transparency of prices and sizes/quantities/amounts for consumers. The Director of Consumer Affairs, who enforces the above legislation, will investigate any complaints about possible breaches of the legislation.