Panama has introduced temporary price controls on chicken and eggs, as part of wider restrictions on how much consumers should pay for 22 food items that are classified as being of common consumption.

Executive Decree 165 is being “strictly” applied across all the country’s provinces with the exception of Darien and some isolated areas, the government has said.

No more food speculation

“This is a historic moment and a historic measure, which makes it clear that there can be no more speculation,” commented the country’s new President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez, who came to power in July. On assuming power, he said that, while he respected the free market, he was “allergic to any speculation with the basic food of the people.”

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Suggestions that food shortages may be the result of prices controls have been rejected by the government, which says that it is in regular contact with the country’s business leaders.

Among products affected are chicken breasts; whole locally produced chickens; medium sized eggs, with the exception of organic eggs; and several products that contain eggs as ingredients.