EU – The European Union has issued a directive to ban ‘dual food’ to tackle the issue of known brands selling its food products of lower quality in some markets in the EU.
The commission is set to provide a methodology for testing multinational brands to help identify the real culprits when they try to pass off inferior goods.
It has set up the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive mandated to foresee the process in assessing misleading commercial practices that have seen the sale of low quality products as being identical in composition and characteristics to known brands.
The ban targets manufacturers who sell inferior versions of well-known brands to customers, sparking complaints from customers in the member states especially in central and eastern Europe.
“I will not accept that in some parts of Europe, people are sold food of lower quality than in other countries, despite the packaging and branding being identical,” said Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.
“We must now equip national authorities with stronger powers to cut out any illegal practices wherever they exist.”
As part of the discussions in Brussels, the EU plans to give consumer organisations the right to launch collective action on behalf of consumers and fines could be increased to up to 4% of a company’s annual turnover if they have infringed the rights of customers.
According to the Guardian, multinational brands in the food, beverage and baby food companies have been implicated for selling lower quality products in eastern countries despite having identical branding and packaging to those sold in western Europe.
They are accused of selling products with different recipes, but bearing the same branding.
“Presenting two different products in the same branded packaging is misleading and unfair to consumers.
This issue is a clear example that we can solve cross-border problems only when working together on EU level,” said Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.
“For too long member states alone couldn’t find the right way to address this.
I am determined to put an end to this practice, prohibited under EU law and make sure that all consumers are treated equally.”