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NEWS

13. 10. 2017

Minister Židan: “Consumers’ trust will be regained by reacting immediately and solving a problem”

Bratislava, 13 October 2017 – Minister Židan attended the Summit on Dual Food Quality at the invitation of Robert Fico, Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic and Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic. At the Summit, which in addition to the Slovakian, Czech, Polish and Hungarian prime ministers, was also attended by minsters and other high representatives of the Visegrad Group, the European Commission, other EU Member States and representatives of producer and consumer organisations, the participants discussed the (in)equality of consumers in the EU market and (un)equal standards that apply to the same brand within the single market. Slovenia was represented at the Summit by Minister mag. Dejan Židan, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, who highlighted that dual food quality of the same brand was misleading, unacceptable and unfair to consumers.

The Summit on Dual Food Quality took place today in Bratislava, where the highest representatives of the Visegrad Group, other interested EU countries, the European Commission and NGOs discussed the situation and urgent measures to ensure the same quality of products for all EU consumers. During the discussion, Minister Židan pointed out the topical issue of misleading consumers in the EU, which was why three research studies had been conducted in Slovenia regarding the dual quality of products and foods on shelves. “Today’s Summit is of exceptional importance, attended by as many as four prime ministers and two commissioners, where we agreed that it was unacceptable for consumers to receive poorer quality for the same or even higher prices. We do not agree to the EU of dual quality,” said Židan. 

 

Two commissioners responsible for consumers and food safety also responded to today’s Summit. According to Minister Židan, they were both very decisive and conveyed more hope, perhaps also because they both come from countries where irregularities have occurred. “I would like to ask you not to leave us in the lurch, because the trust of EU citizens is not increasing, but decreasing. We can regain that trust only by reacting and solving a problem immediately,” emphasised Židan, adding that dual quality was a problematic field. According to Židan, the competent Commissioner, Věra Jourová, was very committed and had promised that a uniform testing methodology would enter into force in 2018, which was commended by Slovenia. On that note, the Minister expressed the expectation that the issue of dual quality would not be resolved in the same way as unfairness in the food chain at the EU level. This issue has been topical since 2010, but nothing concrete has been done, and certain countries, including Slovenia, have been forced to take action and adopt suitable regulations on their own.

 

Today, Slovenia proposed and agreed on a joint activity together with another three countries, which would be an introduction to what was anticipated by the competent Commissioner. “Slovenia achieved its operational objective today. With Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, we will participate in uniform preliminary testing according to the same methodology.” Minister Židan expects the results by March 2018. These results will also be given more significance and will additionally serve as a good basis for the activities of the European Commission. “During the general discussion, it was evident that we have all found problems, so prompt action is required.” The informing consumers about the irregularities of individual companies also proved to be an effective measure in eliminating these irregularities. “We heard about a case where a butter biscuit producer which used a supplement instead of butter was exposed in the media in one of the countries. After the case was made public, biscuits with actual butter were placed on the market.” Dual quality is simply not acceptable, concluded Minister Židan.