Commission releases a new common methodology for comparing the quality of food products across the EU
The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission's Science and Knowledge service, has developed a common methodology to allow national consumer authorities to carry out tests comparing the composition and characteristics of food products sold with similar packaging across the Union. This step complements the actions already taken by the Commission following the State of the Union speech of President Juncker.
The methodology complements the actions announced in the Commission's New Deal for Consumers initiative which aims to clarify and strengthen consumer rights, including prohibiting dual quality practices which are misleading consumers; empower qualified entities to launch representative actions on behalf of consumers; introduce stronger sanctioning powers for Member States' consumer authorities.
All food products sold in the EU have to comply with strict safety regulations; consumers must be informed about key characteristics set notably in EU food labelling law and should not be misled for example by packaging. National food safety and consumer protection authorities are responsible for ensuring that the food placed on the Single Market complies with the relevant EU legislation.
The testing methodology will help authorities identify if food products are marketed in compliance with EU law.
The methodology is based on key principles such as transparency, comparability, similar selection sampling, and testing of products.
Under the coordination of the Joint Research Centre, laboratories across a number of EU Member States will now apply this methodology in a pan European testing campaign to collect data on the scope of the dual quality issue. First results should be available by the end of 2018. This exercise should provide practical guidance for authorities investigating misleading practices.
14 June 2018