Czechs set to go beyond EU proposals on ‘dual quality’ foods, products with outright ban

photo:  (radio.cz)

The Czech government is poised to amend the Food and Consumer Protection acts so as to ban the practice of “dual quality” sales of food and other products. If signed into law, retailers would be banned from selling inferior quality products that appear to be the same as superior ones sold elsewhere in the EU.


Central European member states have long been the driving force in pushing the EU to ban “dual quality” product sales, arguing that the Single Market should not have de facto double standards.

But a long-anticipated revamp of EU consumer protection rules approved last month by the European Parliament stops short of outright banning the practice. As far as Brussels is concerned, if the packing accurately lists the ingredients or contents, such sales are not illegal. For now, it has been left it to national consumer authorities whether to pursue legal action against companies engaged in dual-quality product practices.

The Czech government is ready to do so. On Monday, ahead of a cabinet meeting at which the proposals were to be discussed, the country’s agriculture minister announced fines of up to 50 million crowns against retailers, rather than producers, were envisioned.

It’s a far cry from what EU Justice and Consumers Commissioner Vĕra Jourová, a Czech national, had sought two summers ago when successfully pushing to amend the bloc’s Unfair Commercial Practice Directive to forbid dual food quality sales.

“We want them [producers] to raise the quality of products where it is at this moment lower. The second best option is for them to be rebranded. But that’s not what I wish. I want high quality everywhere…. We’re not ‘naming and shaming’ now – we haven’t mentioned concrete brands – but when we have the evidence, we won’t hesitate to advise consumers not to buy these products.”

In fact, tests carried out by Czech researchers have found many concrete examples. For example, the same brand of frozen fish fingers sold in Germany with a-fifth more fish than the same product sold here, the same chocolate with far less cocoa, the same laundry detergent with less cleaning agents – and the list goes on.

Tomáš Prouza, head of the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism, says apart from the EU not actually banning such sales – and debate still raging on how different packing must be – retailers here are effectively blocked from offering the superior products.

“The current agreement in Brussels solves half of the problem – there cannot be one label and package for two different products. That’s a good first step. But to really solve this problem, Czech stores must be able to buy those better fish fingers available in Germany. Today, they must go through a local distributor that offers only the worse version. They cannot put both on their counters and let customers choose.”

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has met separately in recent weeks with Czech and international retailers and distributors to discuss the situation and announced plans to meet again with all parties concerned before putting the proposed amendments to the Food and Consumer Protection acts to a vote in parliament.

Meanwhile, the proposed amendments before the Czech government are stricter than the EU’s compromise – and will likely enter into force sooner.

Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
Added: 20.05.2019

Related articles


Shabby pub profits from nostalgia

While pubs around Prague are vying to attract visitors with a trendy, clean environment, good food and...


Prague Airport’s Terminal 2 to be...

Prague’s Václav Havel Airport is set to expand its second terminal within the next decade under major...


Launch of new toll system likely to...

The launch of the new electronic toll system on Czech highways at the beginning of December can cause...


Škoda unveils 4th-generation Octavia...

Škoda Auto has unveiled the latest version of its best-selling Octavia model, due to roll out on the...

Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…


The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…