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Food Price Hike Manipulators to Get Harsh Punishment
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Chinese local pricing authorities have been told to crack down on food producers and sellers that attempt to raise food prices to an unreasonable level, said sources with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Monday.


Describing the nationwide campaign as a major political task, the top economic planning agency urged pricing departments at all levels to work hard to stabilize the food market.


The move comes in the wake of recent food price hikes that have pushed the consumer price index, the country's inflation rate, above the government's target of 3 percent for four consecutive months.


The campaign, mainly targeting food manufacturers, wholesale and retail firms, will overhaul the prices for daily foods like grain, cooking oil, meat, poultry, eggs and milk.


NDRC vowed to severely punish those who jack up food prices by revoking their business licenses and bringing them to justice in collaboration with the police and commercial and quality authorities.


The State Administration for Industry and Commerce also said on Monday in an urgent circular that local governments must rid the pork market of sellers that plot price hikes by hoarding and fabricating rumors.


The administration will also clamp down on venders of diseased and water-injected meat.


(Xinhua News Agency August 7, 2007)


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