China's top economic planning agency revealed Thursday that it had commissioned local pricing authorities to conduct investigations into the prices of major food products after price hikes of instant noodles and at certain fast food restaurants triggered consumers' complaints.
The investigations will mainly tackle staple diet elements such as grain, edible vegetable oil, pork, beef, mutton, and poultry, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a circular.
The price hikes in grain, edible vegetable oil and pork in China, due to global grain price rises since the fourth quarter of last year, have sparked widespread concerns, according to the circular.
The NDRC has identified several areas of concern such as industry associations calling for unified price hikes among their member companies, with some other firms guilty of raising prices by hoarding or fabricating rumors, severely upsetting the market and threatening social stability.
The planning agency also ordered local pricing authorities to scrap or slash illegal and high administrative levies on food producers, transporters and sellers. These plans are all part of the government's efforts to balance out price stability.
China's consumer price index, the main gauge of inflation, hit the 33-month-high of 4.4 percent in June, mainly driven by food price rises.
(Xinhua News Agency August 3, 2007)