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Gorbachev Visits Food Processing Exhibit

October 16, 1987

MOSCOW (AP) _ Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and more than a dozen top officials visited an exhibition of food processing equipment Friday, underscoring the leadership’s demand for a better food supply for consumers.

The nightly television news program ″Vremya″ showed almost 10 minutes of film of Gorbachev, eight Politburo members and other top officials watching demonstrations of food packaging and preparation. The Tass news agency also carried a report.

Gorbachev is seeking to make the Soviet economy more efficient and provide better-quality food and manufactured goods to Soviet consumers and the world market.

The television broadcast showed him examining equipment and asking questions as he tasted pastries and looked at packaged carrots and potatoes.

″The exhibition shows what is being done to create in the country technology of a new generation, assigned to sharply increase the quality of food products and the effectiveness ... of work in the meat, dairy, preserves, bread, confectionary and other processing branches,″ Tass said.

The Soviet Union heavily subsidizes many food prices. Gorbachev has said in recent speeches that food is too cheap, and that prices will have to be raised to ensure better quality.

At the same time, ending some food subsidies could free up billions of rubles that the government could invest in modernizing all sectors of the economy.

Soviet consumers suffer chronic shortages of many foods, and that which is available is often of poor quality. Up to 20 percent of some commodities spoil in storage or transport.

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