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Bakers Protest Mass Baguette Discounting Threatens Livelihood

May 30, 1995

PARIS (AP) _ Baguette-wielding bakers took to the streets by the thousands Tuesday to protest the mass production that allows huge supermarkets to sell the bread at low prices.

Members of the Artisan Baking Association assailed the 21-cent price tag of bread made from ready-to-bake dough, which is sold at stores that profit by selling in bulk.

A baguette typically costs the equivalent of 84 cents in the hundreds of small bakeries in Paris.

``When a baker dies, it’s a neighborhood that cries,″ some of the more than 5,000 protesters shouted. They marched from a square in southern Paris to the Champ-de-Mars near the Eiffel Tower.

They demanded the government help consumers distinguish between homemade loaves and the mass-produced variety.

Contending that supermarkets have the advantage of large staffs while smaller shops often close one day a week, bakers called for an enforced six-day work week. They also demanded that only those who make their own bread can earn the right to be called ``baker.″

According to the National Federation of French Bakeries and Pastry Shops, nearly 300 to 400 of France’s 35,000 family-owned ``boulangeries″ disappear each year.

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