The White House is considering a plan to enlist the aid of local consumer groups to monitor and publish food prices as part of President Carter's anti-inflation program.
Alfred Kahn, the President's chief inflation fighter, confirmed that such a plan was under active consideration following a White House meeting yesterday with consumer activists.
Kahn and several members of his newly established working group on food and inflation avoided making specific commitments, but did agree to examine the possibility of cooperating in consumer efforts to regularly publish comparative prices of foods in local markets, and use the resulting data to monitor inflation's impact in the food area.
The food working group is one of four set up by Kahn to examine the impact of inflation on human necessities. The other three will examine the areas of energy, housing and health care.
The groups are an outgrowth of a meeting between Kahn and COIN -- Consumers Opposed to Inflation in the Necessities -- an umbrella group of labor and consumer organizations.
COIN economist Gar Alperovitz yesterday suggested other alternatives to keep down the impact of inflation on necessities, including the possibility of subsidizing certain retailers who keep their prices down.
Kahn was reportedly also interested in discussion about the Star Market food chain's system of specially marking prices on items they consider to be priced excessively high by manufacturers, and suggesting to shoppers that they consider other brands of the same item.
According to April Moore of the National Consumer's League, who attended the meeting, Kahn said he would also recommend that President Carter urge state governments to cut out food taxes.
Moore also cited a recent Canadian government experiment in publishing food prices which resulted in a drop in the prices.