The European Commission announced it would prohibit dual quality food across the bloc, following complaints and pressure from Central and Eastern European (CEE) member states.
The new EU rules ban double quality food products on the markets of EU countries could come into force in January 2020. This is what Commissioner Michaela Šojdrová said.
For several years now, the Czech Republic and other Central and Eastern European countries have been warning of the practice of some companies selling mainly food products under the same name but of different. Studies in Eastern European countries have shown that many goods, including washing powder, are of lower quality than the same brand and packaging in older member states.
‘Dual quality’ food has drawn severe criticism from leaders in the EU’s eastern member states. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov denounced it in July as “food apartheid”, while a Hungarian government official described it as “the biggest scandal of the recent past”.
“According to the Commission, the trader’s right to adapt products on the basis of so-called legitimate reasons, such as the availability and seasonality of raw materials and consumer preferences, should still be retained. We must prevent any loopholes that could lead to further frustration among consumers that even after years of debate we are unable to take action against unfair behavior,” said Czech MEP Olga Sehnalová (S&D).