“We support the European-Union Commissioner, Věra Jourová’s initiative,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Gabriela Matečná (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) in response to the statement made by the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality in Prague, on February 2.
Jourová stated that tests done by the European Commission (EC) have corroborated the results of the investigations into the dual food quality standards carried out by several member states and that she will propose that the dual-quality of food standards be included in a new list of unfair business practices that the EC is to approve this March, the TASR newswire reported.
Slovak minister’s reaction to EU commissioner
“Such practices must be stopped in the EU,” Matečná noted, according to TASR. “Slovak consumers, just like consumers in other EU countries, have the right to the same quality of food sold under the same brand. Multinational firms must adhere to the declared quality within the EU and must not supply lower-quality products to the markets of some member countries.”
She added that the EC has allocated money for food tests in various countries.Europe will continue fighting dual quality products Read more
Czech Agriculture Minister Jiří Milek has stressed the need for cooperation between member states in fighting against dual quality standards, spokesperson for the Slovak Agriculture Ministry Vladimir Machalík added, as reported by TASR.
Dual-quality standards are a problem for one-third of EU member states. The EC will publish a single European testing methodology in March.
New food-quality tests to start in March
Machalík pointed out that it was the Slovak Agriculture Ministry that introduced this topic in March 2017 at the Council of the EU and since then, the ministry has been working closely with other central and eastern-European countries. Slovakia’s efforts have also been supported by EC President, Jean-Claude Juncker.
Slovakia has carried out two series of tests for dual quality food standards. Both tests confirmed, in about half the cases, the existence of dual-quality standards. The tests specifically looked for products of the same brand and packaging but with different ingredients.
The European Commission has drafted a methodology based on which EU member countries will test the quality of food, from March 2018 on. Matečná said that the EC has provided funds and the possibility for each member to take part in the food testing project. The State Veterinary and Food Administration has already enrolled.