Retailers are up in arms after the European Parlia­ment this week backed a report that criticises their impact on farmers and other areas of the supply chain.

Retail and wholesale trade body Euro­Commerce said the parliament's adoption of the José Bové report on the supply chain was "regrettable", and added that it "deplored the misconceptions in the report".

BRC assistant director for EU affairs Graham Wynn described the report as "over the top". "It's unfortunate that MEPs, in trying to help farmers, haven't looked into the situation properly," he said.

In the report, Bové, a farmer turned MEP, called for better prices for farmers and a change to European competition law to streng­then their bargaining power in negotiations with the food industry. He also accused own label of restricting competition for branded suppliers.

"The situation is dramatic," he said. "When the prices of products fall, consumers do not see any difference. On the other hand, when commodity prices go up, the increase is passed on to consumers."

EuroCommerce secretary general Xavier Durieu said the report suggested links between farmers and retailers were more direct than they actually were. "Retail is only the last and most visible link in a long supply chain and only in a few cases do retailers buy directly from farmers," he added.

The report has now been passed to the EC, which will decide what action needs to be taken.