16 Jul, 2018

Same product, different quality?

Some products such as fish fillets or soft drinks are amongst the identified items that may have the same familiar packaging, but contain different ingredients in individual countries across the EU. All food products sold in the EU must and should comply with strict safety regulations; consumers must be informed about their key rights and protections, set notably in EU Food Labelling Law, and should not be misled by, for example, recognizable packaging containing a sub-quality product.

The Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) last week voted in favour of a report which tackles dual quality of products as a misleading commercial practice that is, unfortunately, also used in other products and not just food. The report deals with elements such as transparency of information in order to avoid misleading consumers, the need for improved cross-border cooperation, raising consumer awareness, and better enforcement of existing rules on both national and European level.

Liberal MEPs emphasized the urgency of addressing this issue and the need for clarifying the scale and scope of the problem on the EU market. The dual quality of products is an issue pertinent not only to some Member States in Central and Eastern Europe but to the functioning of the internal market as a whole.

MEP Dita Charanzová, shadow rapporteur on this file said:

“The European Parliament has raised the issue of dual quality of products in the past and, today, we can finally work on legislation to deal with it. The EU and its single market cannot allow for misleading practices which would create second class consumers. The ALDE group promotes strong protection of consumers rights which would empower our citizens and provide them with the choice they want. I truly hope that we will see soon concrete results in the shops throughout the EU.”

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