Imported fruits and vegetables are increasingly offered as domestic produce in Poland. Retail chains are doing this to sell potatoes from the Netherlands, cabbages from Kazakhstan, onions from Austria or apples from Serbia.
"This is a big issue right now," said Łukasz Sosnowski, an agricultural producer from Góra Kalwaria (Piaseczyński poviat, Mazowieckie voivodeship) in an interview with "Fakt". He, like others, is finding it increasingly difficult to compete in terms of price against mass imports.
Inspections revealed that there were marketing irregularities in every third store. Every tenth batch of food was incorrectly marked and foreign products were sold as Polish.
"Incorrect or missing information about the country of origin is misleading consumers," explains Tomasz Chróstny, vice president of UOKiK.
According to Polish producers, the issue is not limited to large retail chain stores. Imported fruit and vegetables are also sold in bazaars. They arrive in Poland in trucks and are then repackaged by wholesalers and sold to retailers as domestic produce.
But how is it possible that imported potatoes, peppers or tomatoes are cheaper than the Polish at the peak of the season? This year, due to the dry weather, the prices of Polish vegetables are higher. Speculators prefer to bring them from countries where they are cheaper than Poland's.
Growers are also paying close attention to the growing imports from outside the European Union.
"Russian potatoes are sold on the Polish market. They are imported without any phytosanitary controls. The situation with industrial apples, which come from Serbia and other countries, is the same. We took them for examination and four pesticides were detected that are banned in the European Union," says Sosnowski.