Prague, Oct 3 (CTK) – European legislation that would deal with the double standards on food quality can be adopted within a year and a half, Czech Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) told journalists on Tuesday.
He said that the European Commission recommended to the East European countries in late September that they use some of the present EU regulations to fight the practice of identically branded products being sold with lower-quality ingredients than in the West.
Jurecka said these rules relied on the readiness of individual EU member states to cooperate, however.
“You must rely on that the partner on the other side, be it in Germany, Belgium or anywhere else, is willing to voluntarily cooperate with you on this issue,” Jurecka said.
He said he addressed the EC and asked it to include a simple sentence in the planned amendment to the legislation on the protection of consumers, saying identically branded products that look the same must have identical ingredients and be of equal quality.
The EC is to deal with the proposal in the first quarter of next year and then it needs to be passed by the European Parliament. In total, the whole legislative process may last about 18 months, Jurecka said.
He said many producers change the ingredients of its products already now because they are afraid of negative publicity, but the introduction of common standards on food quality on the EU single market into the European legislation would solve the problem once and for all.
The double standards concern not only food but also other products such as detergents.
Central and East European countries have been complaining about the dual quality of food products for several months.
EC President Jean-Claude Juncker talked about the issue in his recent address in the European Parliament.
Tests showed this summer that products sold in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic had different ingredients despite similar packaging. However, it could not be said that better-quality food was sold in any of the countries in the survey, Jurecka’s office said previously.
On October 13, a European meeting focusing on equal quality of products for all in the EU is to be held in Bratislava.