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Czech fury as EU fails to ban ‘dual quality’ products across Europe

Czech fury as EU fails to ban ‘dual quality’ products across Europe
MEP’s from the Czech Republic are expressing their disappointment after proposals to ensure that products are of a uniform standard across Europe were rejected by Brussels.

The European Parliament issued a new directive to strengthen consumer protection rules on Wednesday but Czech politicians say the new directive on the dual quality of products in Europe has not gone far enough after their requested ban on the controversial practice was not approved. The Czech proposals sought to address the issue of products marketed under the same name having different ingredients or compositions in different countries.

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In 2017, the Institute of Chemical Technology found differences in the composition of products sold in the Czech market compared to what is sold in countries like Germany. The products included fish fingers with a lower fish content, varying amounts of cheese on pizza and detergent with different levels of active ingredients. Similar tests were carried out around Europe with the same results.

The directive clarified how national authorities are to deal with misleading marketing and said that if marketing in different member states is identical and the products have “significantly unjustified different composition or characteristics,” the practice could be prohibited as it could be considered misleading.

It also said that in two years the situation will be assessed to see if dual quality products need to be added to a blacklist of unfair commercial practices.

“We could make a definitive end today in discussions about the amount of cocoa in chocolate in Germany and in the Czech Republic, unfortunately it did not happen. For me as an MP elected for the Czech Republic, the result is disappointing,” MEP Dita Charanzová (ANO) said, Novinky reports.

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“The law adopted contains a number of legal cliques, tailor-made for large manufacturers that have high quality double business,” MEP Olga Sehnalová (CSSD) added.

“Worse still, the law recognizes justified and objective factors that make it possible for manufacturers to continue to adapt food and other goods to local tastes, pricing preferences, and who knows what else, because they have said that these factors will not all be listed in the text. So practically anything is allowed.”

474 MEPs voted in favor of the directive, 163 voted against it and 14 abstained.

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