Italians nationwide are protesting the rising cost of food with a day-long pasta strike - not against eating pasta, but against buying it.

Organizers Thursday were giving away pasta, bread and milk in cities throughout Italy. They asked consumers to abstain from buying pasta products for the day.

Consumer groups in Italy have organized a nationwide protest against sharp price increases of some staple foods. In the case of pasta, the price rise is to be as high as 20 percent.

Italy's Ansa news agency quotes one of the organizers as saying that strikes in about 100 cities are aimed at forcing the government to consider the effect of the rising cost of food on families.

Ansa also quotes a government official, Antonio Catricala, who assured consumer groups that authorities will give due attention to the matter.

Economists say rising prices of wheat have caused the pasta price increase.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.