New EU tests to tackle ‘rip-off’ food complaints


New EU nourishment quality tests need to be strict enough to stop manufacturers selling some trade-marks with inferior ingredients in ex-communist countries, a Euro MP shaping the new head ups says.

The EU Commission plans to collect data on a range of foods, so that provinces can compare brand quality more easily.

“We have strict safe keeping regulations, but quality is not defined in legislation,” said Croatian MEP Biljana Borzan.

Stamp quality varies too much across the EU, politicians and consumers say.

Well-known trade names of fish fingers, baby food and biscuits are among the foods at the nucleus of a heated debate.

‘Food apartheid’

Last year the prime helps of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – known as the Visegrad Number – told their EU partners it was “unacceptable that our consumers are treated differently and in a discriminatory way”.

Slovak Prime Delegate Robert Fico even threatened to boycott food imports from some EU outbacks if the EU failed to tackle the “dual quality” issue.

Bulgaria’s Prime Curate Boyko Borisov described the problem as “food apartheid” in the EU, likening it to the old racism of South Africa.

Subsistence producers however argue that they tailor their manufacturers to suit local tastes, and that is why the ingredients sometimes differ.

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Ms Borzan told the BBC that “dual characteristic food is a really serious political issue – it shows the EU single shop doesn’t fully function”.

She added: “Changing the packaging is not enough; our end should be to change product quality.”

Some brands have already standardised their ingredients for all EU sells, such as Germany’s Hipp baby food and Bahlsen biscuits.

New EU investigation

On Wednesday, the European Commission said it was updating the EU’s Unfair Commercial Repetitions Directive, to help prevent inferior-quality brands being marketed in some countries.

EU Punishment and Consumers Commissioner Vera Jourova said the Commission would also float a new food-testing methodology next month, so that national authorities could reliably be in a class brand quality from country to country.

The plan is to determine a “commodity of reference” for 20 to 30 brands initially. Next year the standardisation is to be widened to non-food goods, such as washing powder.

As part of its “New Deal for Consumers”, the Commission said the new legislation inclination “make explicit that it may be illegal to market products as being interchangeable in several EU countries, if their composition is significantly different”.

“Business superintendents are free to market and sell goods with different composition or idiosyncrasies, tailoring their products to local consumer preferences or taking into account the extremity to respond to different trends. Products under the same brand may exceptionally be subjected to different characteristics.

“However, a substantially different composition in identically sorted goods can be a source of concern when those products are marketed in a way that has the budding to mislead the consumer,” it said.

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