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International Food Companies Sell Lower Quality products to Central/Eastern European Countries

International food companies supply different quality products to Western Europe than to central and Eastern European countries, daily Magyar Idők reported. The paper referred to a recent survey by Hungary’s food administration Nébih, focusing on 24 brands in terms of product taste and smell, composition and labeling.

The right-wing newspaper noted that Slovakia had similar complaints, and was planning to escalate the case to the European Commission. The problem of dual quality products in the EU has been discussed in the community’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council, as well as among the Visegrad Group cooperation, the paper said, adding, however, that “the legal background is not ideal” and suggested that the issue could be resolved by raising customer awareness and closer cooperation between customer protection authorities of EU members.

Hungarian Government office chief János Lázár told a weekly press briefing on Thursday that the government must examine the issue of inferior quality products sold by multinationals in Hungary from the point of consumer protection and food safety. He said he was appalled by a report of the national food chain safety office Nébih comparing 24 sample products sold in Austria and Hungary. The report confirmed allegations that the companies are trying to sell “food-industry rubbish” in Hungary, he added.

A package of measures on retail trade and consumer protection, which has been removed from the government’s agenda twice already, must be re-examined because retail chains have considerable power to enforce their interests because they are large employers, he said.

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