EU announces creation of common quality control protocol

The European Commission (EC) has announced the creation of a common protocol at European level that will make it possible to analyse the quality of food products of similar characteristics and packaging that are sold in the various countries of the Union.

The methodology seeks to address the "dual quality" problems that arise when a packaged product has a lower quality in one country than in another within the single market. Examples of this are fish fingers with a lower percentage of fish, or a iced tea with a lower amount of tea extract.

The new common methodology, developed by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the Commission, will check whether the food products put on sale comply with the European safety and labelling regulations in order to prevent consumers from being misled.

Its application is in the hands of the national authorities for consumer protection and food safety, which, under the coordination of the JRC, will carry out a pan-European analysis campaign to collect data on the problem of dual food quality.

The results are expected by the end of 2018 and Brussels hopes that the campaign can lead to the elaboration of a "practical guide" for the authorities investigating these issues.

The Group of Visegrad (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary) had already asked for a solution to this problem in March 2017, since a number of studies have revealed that consumers in these countries are the most affected by those business practices.

The European Commissioner for the Single Market and Industry, Elzbieta Bienkowska, is confident that the new methodology will provide "light based on evidence" on the various compositions of products sold under the same brand, while the European Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, Vera Jourová, recalled that the single market "cannot be one of double standards."

"All EU citizens should feel that they are treated equally and that they are given fair and clear information about the products they buy," said Jourová.

Source: EFE

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