The European Union has finally decided to put an end to double standards in food production, in terms of Eastern European market getting lower quality products. By the year-end, the EU will introduce uniformed standards for testing the quality of food products – says the EU Commissioner for Consumers, Vera Jourova in a statement for Deutsche Welle.
She says that the EU producers tend to have different quality of products for “rich” and “poor” EU countries which is misleading to consumers. “We have heard many complaints of consumers noticing that the coffee, drinks, or fish fingers they buy in their local supermarket is of lower quality than in the supermarket across the border,” said Jourova, showing a shift in the EU executive’s view on the issue.
In mid-September, the president of the European Commission said that such dual practices would no longer be tolerated. The Commission also decided not to pass new regulation to solve this issue, but rather to use the existing laws to put an end to consumer discrimination.
The so-called Visegrad Group – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia – as well as Croatia, has succeeded in making the dual food quality a key European issue, with the European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker referring to it in his annual State of the Union. Jourova, too, stressed that the commission takes the issue seriously. “When I say I take this issue very seriously – I mean it,” she said.
The Slovakian PM, Robert Fico even threatened to ban all EU products from Slovakia that are not up to standard. Studies have shown that food sold by multinational producers in Eastern Europe contains cheaper, lower-quality ingredients than identically branded versions in the West.
In Serbia, no officials have commented on this issue as yet, but the President of the National Consumer Organization, Goran Papovic says that consumer protection bodies in Serbia have no money to conduct comparative testing of the EU products sold in Serbia.
“The last testing of 20 products that was conducted in 2011 showed that there were differences in quality. Back then, we also brought attention to this problem. Our state should get involved in this issue more seriously so that we can benefit from this new wave of discontent in the EU about the double standards in product quality”, Papovic adds.
This post is also available in: Italiano