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European Competition Agencies Probing About 60 Food Cases

European Union investigations into the food industry, including 60 current antitrust cases, have benefited farmers, suppliers and consumers, regulators said in a report today.

The industry has been a priority since a food-price crisis broke out in 2007, the European Commission said in a statement today. Regulators in the EU’s 27 member states investigated more than 180 antitrust cases and 1,300 mergers in the food industry between 2004 and 2011, according to the report from the European Competition Network, a group of the bloc’s competition agencies.

“Competition authorities across Europe are working hard to ensure that food markets work for suppliers and consumers alike,” European Union antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia said in the statement. “Where there has been anticompetitive behavior at any level of the food supply chain, competition authorities have swiftly addressed them.”

The largest number of cases concerned processing and retail portions of the food industry, the commission said. Most cases concerned cereal-based products, retail sale of groceries and milk and dairy, followed by fruits and vegetables and meat, poultry and eggs, it said.

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