A consumer in Prague will now be able to enjoy a Coca-Cola having the same ingredients as the one sold on the shelves in Berlin, according to an article in Politico.
In an important victory for the governments of the Central and Eastern European countries, EU negotiators have reached a difficult agreement on food quality rules – products with identical brands sold with different ingredients on different markets. Central and Eastern European countries have pressed for this practice to be regulated, saying that many products sold on their national markets are inferior to those sold in the West.
Everyday products ranging from Coca-Cola to Head & Shoulders shampoo containers should contain the same ingredients, with few exceptions, according to the new rules agreed on Wednesday after several days of technical discussion. The practice of differentiated quality will be considered an “unfair” commercial practice, and companies that violate these rules risk fines of up to 4% of turnover.
“This is the first time that this is recognized,” said an official of the European Commission.
The rules, which are part of an extended legislative reform, have been in preparation for a few years after a sustained lobbying effort from Eastern block countries that received a negative response from Western states who wondered whether this legislation would be necessary.
Supporters of legislation who forbid double standards in the field of food quality have demonstrated on the basis of a 2015 study that, for example, Iglo fish pieces contain 7% less fish when sold in Czech supermarkets than when sold in Germany. Another example is Sprite juice sold in the Czech Republic containing more aspartame than that in Germany.
The draft law, consulted by Politico, defines a product of altered quality as “having significant compositional or characteristic differences” that companies will be forbidden to sell “if there are no legitimate and objective factors justifying their sale “. These factors range from seasonal products that are missing up to national laws adopted to reduce sugar consumption in food and beverages.
Industry has so far justified that these variations in composition are not related to the quality of the products sold but to the preferences of consumers in Europe as well as the differences between the circumstances in which they are produced and national legislation. But under the new legislation, different tastes of consumers will no longer be considered a valid justification for selling different products under the same brand.
Source: G4media (Translation TFP)