Spain allows supermarket rationing to avoid shortages
Spanish supermarkets can legally ration consumer purchases of certain products under a new provision published in the official state bulletin on Wednesday.
The text, which offers legal cover, specifies that the restrictions can be applied “on an exceptional basis and when there are extraordinary circumstances or force majeure which justify it”.
The move came as empty shelves appeared in many supermarkets due to the combined effect of a truckers’ strike and the war in Ukraine.
Most of the empty shelves are due to an ongoing strike by truckers over soaring diesel prices, which began March 14 and have cut supplies of milk, flour, rice and other staples.
Three weeks ago, Spanish supermarkets began rationing the sale of sunflower oil to prevent customers from stocking up for fear of shortages due to Russia’s invasion of the main Ukrainian supplier.
The text was introduced as part of the government’s emergency plan to deal with the economic impacts of the war.
“This provides legal certainty so that they can limit the number of items purchased and thus avoid hoarding but above all so that there is enough for all consumers,” Reyes Maroto, Minister of Health, told reporters. Industry, Commerce and Tourism.
“We are also responding to a need that the distribution companies have pointed out to us and which has manifested itself with the transport strike.”
Spain has been gripped by a wave of social unrest over runaway inflation and rising prices, with strikes by truckers, production stoppages and mass protests by farmers and fishermen.
Soaring energy prices also pushed Spain’s inflation rate to its highest level in 37 years, rising to 9.8% in March from 7.6% in February.
Earlier this week, the government unveiled plans to offer 16 billion euros ($17.5 billion) in direct aid and loans to families and businesses affected by the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.