Consumer product quality: MEPs take aim at dual standards

Press Release: If a firm sells a product EU-wide, but with compositions that differ between countries, it must not label and brand it in a seemingly identical way, as this may mislead consumers, say MEPs.

A product sold under the same brand and packaging should have the same composition ;

Tests in some EU countries found same-brand fish fingers with less fish, sliced bread with less whole wheat flour, and orange drinks with no orange content.

 

Source of photo: There must be neither second-class products, nor second-class consumers in the EU ©AP Images/European Union-EP

 

Many tests and surveys done in several EU member states, mainly in Central and Eastern Europe, have proven that products advertised and sold under the same brand and seemingly identical packaging in fact differ in composition and ingredients, to the detriment of consumers. These differences were found not only in food products, such as fish fingers, instant soup, coffee and soft drinks, but often also in non-food products, including detergents, cosmetics, toiletries and products intended for babies.

In a report approved by 33 votes to three, with one abstention on Thursday, Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee recommends several measures at EU and national levels to tackle the “dual quality” problem.

Rapporteur Olga Sehnalová (S&D, CZ) said: “Dual quality products undermine citizens’ confidence in the fair functioning of the EU internal market. If a product is sold under the same brand and packaging, it should have the same composition. If the manufacturer wants to customise a product, consumers have the right to know and be aware of this adjustment for each individual product”.

“We must ensure that all misleading practices are outlawed and that the proposed initiatives do not just remain on paper. In order to do so, the amendment to the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, as proposed by the European Commission in April, is a good starting point. However, it needs several clarifications to work effectively. There must be neither second-class products, nor second-class consumers in the EU”, she added.

 

the European Parliament

 

Call for cross-border cooperation, comparative tests and better enforcement

MEPs call for swift cross-border cooperation and data-sharing, including on potentially non-compliant products and possible unfair practices, among national consumer protection and food authorities, consumer associations and the EU Commission in order to tackle dual quality and ensure that the rules are enforced better and more consistently.

A common testing approach needs to be fully developed, to gather reliable and comparable evidence and help ascertain how serious and widespread the “dual quality” issue is. The results should be disclosed in a publicly available database and analysed “no later than by end of this year”, says the committee.

Updating the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive

While welcoming the EU Commission’s April 2018 “New Deal for Consumers” proposal, which amends the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive in order to tackle dual quality of products, MEPs point out that it requires further clarification. “The outcome of the legislative process should be a clear definition of what can be considered as ‘dual quality’ and how each case should be assessed and addressed”, says the committee.

EU-wide logo

“Consumer preferences should not be used as an excuse for lowering quality and/or offering different quality grades on different markets”, MEPs say, reiterating that business operators are permitted to market and sell goods with different composition and characteristics across the EU only where justified by “legitimate factors” and in full compliance with EU laws.

MEPs invite manufacturers to consider including a logo on the packaging that would show that the content and quality of the same brand is the same across all EU countries.

Next steps

The report by Olga Sehnalová will be put to a vote by the full Parliament at September’s plenary session. The new legislative proposal amending the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive is expected to be put to a committee vote in November.

Press Release, European Parliament,  12th of July 2018, Source: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/ro/press-room/20180711IPR07740/consumer-product-quality-meps-take-aim-at-dual-standards   

 

Source of photo: http://www.europarl.europa.eu

 

By Intell News on July 15, 2018

About Claudiu Victor Gheorghiu 32 Articles
My name is GHEORGHIU CLAUDIU VICTOR and I was born in October 1967 in Bucharest. In 1998 I took the master degree at University from Bucharest , the Faculty of History- universal old history section- with theme (CONSTANTIN the GREAT and CHRISTIANITY) at professor LIGIA BARZU. In 1991 I graduated Art School , PAINTING section with TITU DRAGUTESCU. I painted sacred pictures from 1990. I paint in technique tempera or tempera with egg on wood. During the period 1992-1994 I was managership at COLEUS modern art gallery . I am member of the Association Branch of Religious Plastic Arts and Restoration : AFAPRR of UAP from Romania: Romanian Fine Arts Union from 9th of April 2016, admitted by contest. I was member in Plastic Background(FP) belong Romanian Fine Arts Union (UAP) from 7th of December 2000, admitted by contest. From 25th of May 2015 I was elected Media advisor of the Steering Committee of the Association Branch of Religious Plastic Arts and Restoration : AFAPRR of UAP from Romania: Romanian Fine Arts Union. From 2014 I am member VISARTA(from March 31, 2017, I was elected in the Steering Committee of Visarta, during the period 2017-2022), the Romanian Visual Arts Copyright Collecting Society. I have 4th Personal Exhibitions with sacred art organized by UAP from Romania- Romanian Fine Arts Union in Bucharest (2001,2003,2004 at ArTei Gallery, 2007 at Galateea Gallery) and another at Silva Gallery in Busteni(2007-2008). I have also 2 Personal Exhibitions in Italy : I was Honor Guest, representing Romania, with sacred art, June 2003 at Pisa and in October 2006 ”The ICONS, sacred pictures in contemporary world” at Viadana(Mantua). I won some prizes in Italy and I participated, admitted by contest, at some art fairs and international exhibitions around the world, representing Romania: most of them in Italy, but also in France, Greece, Japan, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland. From May 2015 to January 2016 I was Contributing Editor at CULTURE (Fine Arts, Exhibitions, History, Religion) at the newspaper Jurnalul Bucurestiului. From 17th of January 2016 I was advanced Senior Editor at the same newspaper . From 1st of November 2015 to 31st of December 2016 I was Contributing Editor and Thematic Advisor at News Agency Lacasuri Ortodoxe and Press service LO News. From 1st of January 2016 I am Senior Editor at CULTURE at the Intell News: Global news, press and event analysis.