Fruit stand.
Fruit stand.Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Knesset has taken a significant step toward closing a loophole that allows venders to collaborate on raising prices for certain food items.

A new law passed by the Economics Committee could lower the price of fresh produce – including fruits, vegetables, eggs and chicken – by up to 10%.

Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett explained, “For years, the prices of chicken, eggs, fruits and vegetables in Israel have epitomized the issue of ‘cost of living.’ These basic food items suffered price hikes because Israeli law allowed price-fixing.”

Price-fixing that would have constituted a crime in other branches of the food industry was legal when it came to farm goods, he said. “Today, that ended,” he declared.

Bennett thanked Committee head MK Avishai Braverman (Labor), MK Zevulun Kalfa (Jewish Home), Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir (Yisrael Beytenu), and Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) for their support for the bill.

MK Mickey Rosenthal (Labor) noted that farmers cooperated in passing the new law. The law will help protect farmers from exploitation at the hands of large grocery chains, he explained.

The new law must pass a second and third vote in Knesset. If it passes, it should go into effect within a year.