Commission issues guidelines on application of laws regarding dual quality of food products

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details IP/17/3403 (26.09.17)
Publication Date 26/09/2017
Content Type

Background and further information:

The national consumer and food authorities are responsible for ensuring that companies comply with EU laws. This guidance lists and explains the relevant requirements from EU food and consumer laws to which authorities need to refer when analysing a potential dual quality product issue:

+ Food Information Regulation, which requires that consumers are given truthful and sufficient information about a particular food product;

+ Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, which prohibits unfair commercial practices.

Based on this legislation, the guidance establishes a step-by-step approach for the national consumer and food authorities to identify whether the producers are in breach of these laws. In case there is a cross-border aspect to a breach, the consumer authorities can address it through the Consumer Protection Cooperation network at the European level.

The issue concerning distinct levels of food quality in different Member States was highlighted during the 2017 State of the Union address. It caught the attention of media sources earlier in the year following reports that some products presented different levels of quality depending on the country in which they were purchased.

The European Commission published on 26 September 2017 a set of guidelines to support national authorities in determining whether a company is breaking EU laws when selling products of dual quality in different countries.

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Related Links
EUObserver, 28.09.17: Slovakia: EU action on dual food quality is 'first step'
EurActiv, 27.09.17: Commission ready to advise consumers to boycott ‘dual standard’ food
The Guardian, 26.09.17: EU helps countries crack down on food firms selling inferior products
EUObserver, 26.09.17: EU sees 'more evidence' of dual food quality
The Guardian, 15.09.17: Food brands 'cheat' eastern European shoppers with inferior products
EurActiv, 13.09.17: ‘No second class consumers’: Juncker slams double food quality in the EU
EUObserver, 27.07.17: Visegrad lobby makes food quality an EU issue
EUObserver, 25.07.17: EU to give research tips on dual food quality
Euronews, 28.06.17: Bulgaria to pressure EU over food quality discrepancies
Euronews, 22.02.17: Eastern EU countries cry foul over 'garbage can' food quality
The Irish Times, 22.02.17: Central Europe bemoans raw deal from big food firms
EurActiv, 29.05.17: Borissov accuses EU of ‘apartheid’ over lower quality food in Eastern Europe
BBC News, 17.05.17: Ex-communist states complain of rip-off food in EU
The Guardian, 29.05.17: Multinationals fobbing us off with inferior food, says Bulgarian minister
European Commission: Press speakings of Commissioner Jourová at a joint press conference on dual quality of food with Chair of Czech Parliament Agriculture committee Mr. Faltynek

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