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A number of global food giants have been exposed for cheating consumers in eastern Europe by selling inferior products under respected premium brand names, Vera Jourová, the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality revealed in a press conference.
A bottle of Coca-Cola in Prague, ought to be the same Coca-Cola for sale in London, Paris or New York. But Ms. Jourová stated that multinational food companies are selling vastly different products to different countries, but using identical branding on their packaging. According to the statement, the quality of many foodstuffs sold in Eastern Europe by Western multinationals is significantly inferior to the same branded product sold in Western Europe.
"We have seen the growing dissatisfaction of people who feel the need to buy things abroad in order to have fish fingers that will contain fish meat, or orange juice that will contain oranges," she said.
"The frustration is growing and we should do something against it," she was cited by The Guardian as saying.
Double standards in food quality have been suspected for decades, according to the report, but Jourova is the first official to go public on the practice.
"We say for the first time clearly: this is unfair commercial practice. In many cases, yes, I am convinced [that the law has been broken] because there is manifest cheating," she said.
Jourova declined to name specific brands, angering many who would name and chame to force corporate food suppliers to change their policy, but she declared that she will do so if manufacturers do not drop the dishonest practice.
"I will not hesitate to name the brands — and even to encourage people not to buy them," she said, adding "I am quite brave on this."
The Guardian's report, however, included several examples discovered by its own investigative team, including a Slovenian Coca-Cola product with highly-elevated amounts of sugar and fructo-glucose, compared to the exact same product sold in Austria. The report also found Slovenian ‘Spar' yogurt to contain 40 percent less berries than the same branded product sold in Austria. Other examples include Lidl, Pepsi and Birds Eye, according to the report.
The issue came to light after Bulgaria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary alerted the European Commission by publishing issues with the poor quality of imports from western-based multinational food giants, after complaints had been ignored.
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