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Greece’s coalition government at risk to drown in “fresh milk”

Greece’s coalition government is at risk to drown in the controversial ‘fresh milk’ market reforms with at least five government MPs threatening to downvote the relevant provision. Two lawmakers from Samaras’ Nea Dimokratia and three from PASOK have repeatedly told media that they will not vote in favor of the law aiming to open the milk market under the pretext of extending the shelf life of fresh milk.

According to the rebel lawmakers, the milk reforms will destroy the small and medium milk producers.

With a thin majority of 153 seats in a Parliament of 300, ND-PASOK coalition would face a major blow when the controversial reform will be tabled for voting. The government needs at least 151 votes to pass a law.

The OECD has repeatedly suggested to Greece to extend the duration of fresh milk in order to lower the prices for consumers. However, extending the milk duration will open the Greek milk market for foreign multinational companies as it will give them more time for the milk transport. Greece’s lenders, the Troika, are in favor of opening the market.

The duration of fresh milk is planned to be extended from 4 days currently to up to 11 days with the necessary modification in homogenization process.

According to Eurostat data from 2011, the price in Greece of dairy produce -milk and  – was 31.5 percent above the EU average in 2011, the highest in Europe.

Also two years ago, the milk prices were dramatically reduced from €0,50 to even €1 per liter at the super market shelf.

I personally remember to buy 1 liter of fresh milk 1.5% fat for €2 in 2008. three years later and after the outcry of the debt-ridden society, the price for milk from the same company went down to €1. During the last two months and due to several V.A.T. and ‘whatever’ price adjustments from the industry, milk prices went up again.

Price development for 1 liter Fresh Milk 1.5% fat

2008: €2

2012: €1

2014: €1.24

Greek dairy firms say they charge a fair price to milk producers and their sector is one of the least profitable due to high costs.

PS my cat suggested that the Greek Government would fall apart and early elections might be due just because the Troika and the OECD want Greek consumers to pay a couple of cents less for milk. But you know my cat… she has this tendency to weave  the craziest scenarios…


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  1. keeptalkinggreece

    This is a comment by “GeeBee” sent to KTG e-mail with the request to be posted as the Spam protection form does not seem to function properly. You know 8+9 = 17 but you get an error message…

    Comment posted by GeeBee

    “Sitting here enjoying my third cup of coffee this morning with a bit of sugar and fresh milk: 3.7 percent fat, cost per litre, €1.55, purchased 8 days ago at a supermarket in Moires, Crete.
    According to the information on the plastic bottle, this fresh milk is 100 percent “made” in Greece, was homogenised /pasteurised on March 10 and has a shelf life that should have ended on March 14. (Note: I bought it on the 15th!) This milk sill tastes wonderful (otherwise, my own cat would be enjoying it now, insteaad of my husband and I!)

    With all the other problems going on in this country, it really is mind-boggling that there should be such controversy over “how long is milk allowed to be called fresh.” The answer is simple: until it goes sour. The factors that contribute to the latter are many , such as: was the milk kept properly cooled throughout the processing, shipping, storage chain until it reached my fridge and the sanitary /hygienicconditions throughout (including if someone in the family has a big sip of the milk right out of the bottle before putting it back inside.) The season of the year also plays a major role here. my experience has shown, fresh milk bought in autumn, winter or early spring just doesn’t go bad as quickly as that bought in summer. The reason for this should be obvious – even to our over coffeed and cookied MPs.

    This matter could – and should be – left up to the milk producer – and above all, the consumer. (Here I mean, the producer ought to know how long their product remains useable – and a consumer whose milk goes bad before the expiration date will quickly start purchasing another brand. We are not stupid!) Reading about the controversy in Parliament over this issue makes me wonder why certain MPs are so adamantly opposed to this particular change….Have they just got no clue?Or are these fat cats allowing themselves to be unduly influenced by dairy farmers/producers who are worried that more competition might just mean a few less cents in their pockets?

    PS: If you are wondering why we are willing to pay so much money for a litre of fresh milk, ask my cat. She tells me it’s just much more tasty than the stuff from the local discounter. My husband and I agree and in our years here on the island we’ve learnt the following:
    Be glad to get any fresh (cow) milk at all – and ignore the info on the bottle/carton – it’s meaningless. And should the day come when fresh milk starts pouring into Greece from other parts of the world, we’ll still buy milk from Greek cows – if, that is, it’s available. (An aside here – I always do my best to buy Greek products – but am often thwarted in this effort due to lack of supply of desired item. Garlic for example. We have now entered the time of the year here in which Greek garlic has all but dissapeared and only that awful stuff from China can be bought. Strange when I consider that garlic could be grown here year round…but I digress. Sorry!”

    • keeptalkinggreece

      I have the same problem: even all fresh milk does not taste the same and I don’t like the taste of discount milk.
      8 days and not turned sour? In summer during the heat waves, I’ve noticed that fresh milk can turn sour even inside the fridge…
      BTW: I think the best milk is made in Thrace & Epirus 🙂