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Aug 23, 2017

European Commission to decide on Hungary's new food packaging law

“We hope Brussels will support the Hungarian proposal to disclose quality discrepancies,” Róbert Zsigó, state secretary in charge of supermarket oversight, said

The European Commission will soon decide on Hungary's draft legislation that would require food companies to disclose discrepancies between identically branded products on various national markets on their packaging.

“We hope Brussels will support the Hungarian proposal to disclose quality discrepancies,” Róbert Zsigó, state secretary in charge of supermarket oversight, told Magyar Idők.

Hungary's farm ministry drafted the legislation after probes in Hungary and neighboring countries showed discrepancies in the quality of identically branded food products sold in eastern and in western Europe.

In May, Hungary drafted it's legislation and leaders of the V4 Group of countries came together to fight the issue surrounding food quality. The V4 statement is in full, below.

We, the Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group countries, are strongly convinced that all consumers within the European Union have the right to quality and safe products.

It is unacceptable that our consumers are treated differently and in a discriminatory way. We are strongly convinced that every citizen has the right to buy products of the same brand which are of the same quality regardless of a region or a particular country. Non­discrimination is a key principle of the Internal Market.

The conclusions of 9 March 2017 of the President of the European Council welcomed the decision of the European Commission to address the issue of dual quality of foodstuffs in the internal market in the High Level Forum for a better functioning food supply chain.

The European Commission has already started this work with the involvement of Member States and relevant stakeholders. At the Agriculture and Fisheries Council held on 17 July 2017, the Commission stated that food companies that mislead consumers into believing that a branded product is identical across the EU are guilty of unfair commercial practices.

We urge further and detailed examination of the problem at Union level and we believe that concrete and strong measures are needed.

In order to enable Member States to efficiently step up against these practices appropriate Union level legal provisions are indispensable. As these are not yet available, we call upon the European Commission to propose adequate measures urgently.

The Visegrad Group countries are united and strongly committed to find a solution which guarantees the fulfilment of the legitimate right of all consumers throughout the European Union to have access to the same quality products.