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MfD: Czechs want EU to make food products equal for all members

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Prague, Feb 7 (CTK) – Prague wants to put an end to the practice of the same product being sold under the same name and with the same logo and packaging across the EU, but still its quality being lower in the eastern member states such as the Czech Republic, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes yesterday.
For example, a packaging of Jacobs Kroenung instant coffee looks identical when put on sale in Germany and the Czech Republic, but the German packagings contain one third more caffeine than those designated for the Czech market, the daily writes.
The Ristorante salami pizza has the same packaging in all EU countries, but in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine it bears an additional inscription “edizione speciale,” and contains only half the salami of the product’s version sold in Germany or France, MfD writes.
This practice has been repeatedly criticised by the Czech Agrarian Chamber, but Czech authorities can do nothing about it because a remedy is only possible through changing the European law, the daily writes.
Prague plans to intensify its pressure in this respect.
According to MfD’s information, the Agriculture Ministry wants to complete an extensive survey comparing the quality of foods bought in the east of the EU, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, with those bought in Germany and Austria.
Brussels has used a shortage of such data as an argument so far, the daily writes.
“The survey is necessary for us to declare that the problem really exists,” Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) told the paper.
Until now, the Czech Republic has been failing to persuade the EC to deal with the problem. The only Czech representative to have promoted the issue in Brussels so far is MEP Olga Sehnalova (Social Democrats, CSSD), who has won support from Slovakia and Croatia, but complained about the Czech government’s passivity.
Jurecka now vows to intensify his efforts in promoting an EU directive that would bind producers to sell each product with an identical composition across the EU, MfD writes.
Sehnalova launched her struggle six years ago, inspired by surveys in eight EU countries, which showed that products such as Coca-Cola and Tchibo Espresso tasted different in various countries.
She and some other MEPs turned to the EC, which, however, said the number of surveyed samples was not representative, that different tastes and prices are preferred by customers in different countries and that there is no problem if none of the surveyed products could harm human health, MfD writes.
Sehnalova initiated another two surveys, staged a tasting of yoghurts and beverages in European Parliament, did a comparative shopping in the Czech Republic and Germany, and addressed a conference in Croatia.
A total of 150 MEPs have signed the latest document she initiated to deal with the dual-quality problem. However, more than 200 other signatures are needed for the EP to approve the complaint.
Sehnalova has been supported by Jeronym Tejc, a CSSD lawmaker who will run for CSSD first deputy chairman at the party’s forthcoming election congress, the daily writes.

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