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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 04:20 GMT 05:20 UK
Italy urged to go on pasta strike
Wheat (file image)
Much of the wheat used to make Italian pasta is imported
Consumers' associations in Italy have asked people to refrain from buying or eating pasta for the day, in protest against recent price increases.

The groups are requesting the government intervene to reduce pasta prices.

An increase in the price of wheat in recent months has forced pasta manufacturers to pass on the cost.

Pasta is a national dish in Italy, with each Italian eating on average 28 kg (62 lb) of pasta every year.

Dearer flour

The leader of one consumer association, Elio Lannutti, said the objective of the pasta strike was to forgo pasta for one day, in order to have more of it in the days to come.

A plate of pasta probably costs less than an apple
Furio Bragagnolo, vice president of the Italian pasta manufacturers association

Italian supermarkets may mark up pasta prices by 20% by the end of this year.

One large producer of the commodity, De Cecco, described the strike as symbolic, and said it expected little fluctuation in its market as a result.

"There is no dish that costs less," Furio Bragagnolo, the vice president of the Italian pasta manufacturers association told Associated Press agency. "Whoever decides to strike against pasta will spend more on whatever they buy instead. A plate of pasta probably costs less than an apple."

Global warming and the growing use of durum wheat as a bio-fuel are blamed for the steep rise in pasta prices.

The price for durum flour, the main ingredient for Italian pasta, has risen from 0.26 euro per kg (£0.18) to 0.45 euro per kg in the last two months.

Are you in Italy? Are people supporting the protest? Will you be eating pasta today? Are increased wheat prices affecting your country?

A selection of your comments:

Here in Rome today it seems the outcome of the Formula One spy scandal is of more interest to most people. Consumer worries are a constant worry however, especially with autumn price hikes likely for gas and electricity etc. Pasta prices rises are just symptomatic.
Philip Curnow, Rome

I support the protest and hope to see the same happening in other countries. However, being an old fashion 'Milanese', I eat pasta very rarely and prefer rice instead ;-)
Adelaide Ajroldi, Milan, Italy

I and most of my friends are not going to eat and to buy pasta today because we are really fed up with continuous price increase for pasta and tomato sauce. Also the prices of pizza have grown really a lot recently.
Grasso Angelo, Torino, Italy

I didn't know anything about a pasta strike. Yes, today I ate pasta at lunch and I think that increased wheat prices are not affecting our country a lot. Pasta is the base of every italian lunch, very hard to make an italian change this habit, this tradition.
Monica, Lecce, Italy

This morning I spoke on the phone with an Italian colleague based in Rome, and the first thing I asked was 'Are you going to give pasta a miss for the day?' He laughed quizically. I explained that I'd heard on the news that Italians were being asked to refrain from pasta for a day. He laughed again. He didn't have the foggiest what I was talking about. Obviously it's bigger news here than in Italy.
Graham Hirst, Horsham, UK

I live in Messina (Italy). I think here not so many people are supporting the protest. I don't eat pasta today. Yes, pasta and bread are increasing - but not only, also gas and electricity.
Ingrid Simon, Messina, Sicily

I guess we should learn from this 'pasta protest'. Rice prices has been going up since last year which is a staple food here. Should we also forgo eating rice for a day in protest? If this protest brings positive results in lowering the price of pasta, we could possibly go for a similar action. Good luck to the Italians.
Syeed Milky, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Italians will pay whatever for their pasta. The poorest families in Sicily eat it 3 times a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Unfortunately we've got used to the forever increasing prices and have learnt to cough up whatever.
Cathrene Hume, Catania, Italy

Let's be serious: this protest is just nonsense, if one considers to what extent people's lives may be actually affected by such a price increase, while this is the country with the highest percentage of mobile phones per person in the world! That sounds ridiculous, and it's crystal-clear why.
Luca Dombrč, Parma, Italy

I am Italian, now in London: today I am not eating pasta. My family in Italy approves the strike because not only pasta's price rised but also bread and whatever made with flour. Doing the shopping is every day more expensive..
Carlotta, Verona, Italy

Consumer associations have always organised food strikes, as far back as I can remember, but it has only recently started gaining support with the public. Finally people are hearing about these "stikes" before they take place, thanks to the increase in media coverage. However it's still not clear of the impact these strikes have. "Do not eat pasta today" is almost like asking the impossible in Italy.
Gloria R, Milan, Italy

The reality of the situation is that with so many increases in the cost of living in Italy including fuel, most people cannot afford to eat anything else but pasta.
Roberto, Venice

A pasta producer describes the problems he is facing

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