25 August 1999
French rally against USA and supermarkets
FARMERS in France are on the march in protest against supermarkets and US food businesses which they claim are threatening their livelihoods.
The protest against the USA has been sparked by an American ban on imports of Roquefort cheese, reports The Independent.
The USA imposed the ban in retaliation for a French ban on the import of hormone-treated US beef.
French farmers have attacked the McDonalds fast-food restaurant chain as the most visible symbol of what is perceived as US high-handedness.
Farmers have also been angry about the large French supermarket chains, which are accused of beating down the price paid to small farmers.
The French government has now introduced a system of double-labelling to head off the protests.
Price tickets now show the price paid to the farmer as well as the price demanded of the consumer.
The Independent identifies a relatively new French farmers organisation called the Confederation Paysanne as the author of the recent bout of protest.
The confederation broke away from the main French farmers organisation, the national federation of farm unions (FNSEA) in 1987.
It complained that the interests of traditional and small farmers were overlooked by concerns about increased big-farm productivity and the French government.