Commission assists Member States to identify and act against dual quality of food products
As announced by President Juncker in this year's State of the Union speech, the Commission issued today a set of guidelines on the application of EU food and consumer laws to dual quality products.
The guidelines will help national authorities to determine whether a company is breaking EU laws when selling products of dual quality in different countries.
The guidance lists and explains the relevant requirements from EU food laws and EU consumer laws to which authorities need to refer when analysing a potential dual quality product issue.
The Food Information Regulation requires that consumers are given truthful and sufficient information about a particular food product. For example, food labels must list of all of the ingredients contained in a product.
The Unfair Commercial Practices directive prohibits unfair commercial practices, such as marketing identically branded products in a way that has the potential to mislead consumers.
Based on this legislation, the guidance establishes a step-by-step approach for the national consumer and food authorities to identify whether the producers are in breach of these laws. In case there is a cross-border aspect to a breach, the consumer authorities can address it through the Consumer Protection Cooperation network at the European level.
The national consumer and food authorities are responsible for ensuring that companies comply with EU laws. However, the European Commission is committed to helping them through this guidance and through different work strands.
In addition to these guidelines, the Commission is working on a methodology to improve food product comparative tests so that Member States can discuss this issue on a sound and shared scientific basis that is the same for all. The Commission has made €1 million available to its Joint Research Centre to develop this methodology.
The Commission is also financing further work on the collection of evidence and enforcement by offering €1 million to Member States for the financing of studies or enforcement actions.
The Commission has started a dialogue with producers and brand associations, who have committed to developing a code of conduct for this autumn.
Factsheet on the guidance
Dual quality factsheet from State of the Union Speech
26 September 2017