Pommes frites turn political hot potato

24th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

Prices of its pommes frites have risen by 4 percent despite a 24-precent drop in prices of potatoes.

24 April 2008

BRUSSELS - Belgium is in a stir over its world-famous pommes frites, whose prices have risen by 4 percent in a year despite a 24-percent drop in the price of potatoes, Flemish daily Het Laatse Nieuws reported Thursday.

Finance Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne has ordered an official investigation into the causes of the price surge, infuriating chip sellers.

"It makes us look as if we are the culprits," said Bernard Lefevre van Navefri of the National Union of "Frituristen," or fry-friers.

The union leader threw the hot potato back at the minister, noting that the recent increases in the price of heating gas and vegetable oil were to blame.

"It is true that potatoes are cheaper, but they only account for about a third of the price of our pommes frites," van Navefri said.

Authentic Belgian fries are fried twice to ensure that they are crunchy on the outside and soft inside. Some Belgian commentators argue that the fries - known around the world as "French fries," but elevated to cult status in Belgium - are in fact a Belgian invention.

An average-sized bag of pommes frites in Belgium costs about EUR 2.

[dpa / Laurent van Roy / Expatica]

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