An analysis of nearly 1400 food products in 19 European Union countries has found that nine per cent of the compared products differed in composition, although the front-of-pack was identical, the European Commission said.
A further 22 per cent of products had differing compositions while having a similar front-of-pack, the Commission said.
However, the study did not show a consistent geographical pattern.
“While I am happy that they found no evidence of an East-West divide in the composition of branded food products, I am worried that they uncovered up to one third of tested products having different compositions while being identically or similarly branded,” . Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, said.
Based on the new methodology developed, national competent authorities will now be able to perform the case-by-case analysis required to determine misleading practices prohibited under EU consumer law, the EC said.
Navracsics: “Some Europeans feel branded food products they buy are different, perhaps worse, compared to those available elsewhere. The Commission called on our scientists to help objectively assess the extent of such differences on the single market.”
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “There will be no double standards in Europe’s single market. With the new laws penalising the dual quality and strengthening the hands of the consumer authorities, we have the tools at hand to put an end to this practice.
“European consumers will be able to do their shopping in full trust that they buy what they see,” Jourová said.
The Commission launched on June 24 a new call for proposals with a total budget of 1.26 million euro to strengthen consumer organisations’ capacities to test products and identify potentially misleading practices. The deadline for applications is November 6 2019.
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