Price cap on food oil to stop profiteers

The Development Ministry yesterday announced a price freeze on all cooking oils to prevent prices skyrocketing following a countrywide recall of sunflower oil amid a health scare over tainted shipments from Ukraine. The ministry did not impose any maximum price for the olive, seed and pomace oils remaining on the market. But it called on all retailers and manufacturers to cap their prices at their May 20 levels. As a result, the price of olive oil will range from 5.36 euros to 6.06 euros per liter. Seed oil will range from 2.41 euros to 3.01 euros per liter. Any vendors found violating this decision will face heavy fines, a court indictment and will be publicly identified, the ministry said. Authorities say that the measures have been taken to protect consumers from likely profiteering. They stress that the mineral oil, which is believed to have tainted a small portion of sunflower oil, does not pose any risk to those who have consumed it, noting that extremely large quantities of the oil would have to be consumed for a health problem to arise. Nevertheless opposition parties blamed the government for failing to withdraw all sunflower oil from shelves immediately, noting that other European Union states had reacted to the news more rapidly. The EU has restricted imports of Ukrainian sunflower oil. Imports will only be allowed after strict checks to ensure they are free of mineral oil contamination, EU officials have said.