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The French government will step up research into the food supply chain to find out whether companies are using the inflationary crisis to raise prices unjustifiably, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday, Reuters reported.

State consumer protection agents have already carried out 1,200 inspections in the sector since the beginning of the year, and a hotline for companies to report price violations will be available from Tuesday, the finance ministry said.

In 2018, France passed a field to fork law regulating minimum prices and limiting bargain sales in supermarkets in an attempt to appease farmers who have long complained about low margins and a retail price war.

But the tide has changed in recent months as inflation bites.

While the current inflationary crisis was initially fueled by high energy prices, food prices have also risen in recent months since the war in Ukraine, reaching 5.7% in 12 months, the highest level since July 2008.

Under government pressure, French shipping giant CMA CGM said it would cut container shipping rates by around 10% for major retailers in France to help curb inflation.

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