The drawn-out Czech-Polish dispute over the quality of food imports this week reached a new level after Polish officials accused the Czech authorities and media of waging a campaign aimed at hurting Polish food sales in the country. Czech officials, meanwhile, complain about poor quality of some Polish foodstuffs, and say inspections prove they fail to meet set standards much more often that Czech products.
Poland says growing criticism regarding the quality of Polish food imports to the Czech Republic stems from competition on the market. In a statement for the media the Polish Embassy in Prague said on Monday that Polish food inspections were conducted fully in adherence with European standards and accused the Czech side of orchestrating a smear campaign against Polish goods with the intention of increasing the share of Czech food products on the home market. The embassy said this tactic could backfire since the two countries were often seen as one region and one market. The quality of Polish food imports is expected to dominate the agenda of this week’s Czech-Polish business forum.
A 56-year-old woman died from methanol poisoning in a hospital in Orlová, north Moravia on Friday. She was the 25th victim of methanol poisoning in the Moravia-Silesia Region, while over 40 people have died around the Czech Republic since the first such death last summer. The Ministry of Health imposed a ban on sales of all spirits for a two-week period in September in a bid to deal with a health crisis stemming from illegally-produced poisonous booze. Police are still warning against the consumption of old bottles of spirits and of alcohol of uncertain provenance lacking the correct stamps.
A woman was admitted to a Prague hospital with methanol poisoning on Friday, a spokesman for the facility said, the second such case registered in the Czech Republic this week. Some 40 people have died in the country since the outbreak of the methanol crisis last September. The police have meanwhile charged another five people for selling bootleg liquor on the black market. The country’s chief hygiene officer has again warned against drinking alcohol from unknown sources.
In this week’s Business News: Czech wine producers have begun raising prices; the majority of Czechs are far from optimistic with regards to the country’s economy; Prague’s Václav Havel Airport will offer flights to fewer destinations this summer season; unions and automaker TPCA have not found common ground on a collective bargaining agreement.
Production of beer increased 2.7 percent year on year in 2012, according to the Czech Brewers’ Association. The increase was driven by higher consumption and export of radlers. Consumption of radlers, popular among young people, reached 434.000 hectolitres in 2012, while consumption of traditional brews dipped slightly. There is also increasing demand for beer in cans and plastic bottles.
The country’s chief hygiene officer Vladimir Valenta has warned the public not to drink unlicensed spirits over the Easter holidays. There are fears that there is still a considerable amount of bootleg liquor containing the deadly methanol in people’s possession. Forty-five people died and many suffered permanent eye damage after drinking methanol-laced bootleg liquor which flooded the market last autumn. Although police confiscated thousands of litres of the deadly spirits a large amount is still unaccounted for.
A survey of shopping habits by the KPMG agency published this week suggests that organic food products have lost their initial attraction: shoppers find them too expensive and often question their superior quality. According to the results of the poll only 4 percent of Czechs buy organic food on a regular basis. 37 percent of respondents said they did so occasionally and approximately the same number of people said they had tried organic products in the past but no longer shopped for them. So are Czechs losing interest in organic food and should
Health Minister Leoš Heger would welcome the practice of putting shocking images on cigarette packs as part of a broad anti-smoking campaign. The health minister said that in his view the drastic pictures could prove effective in putting off young people from smoking. On a panel debate on Sunday the minister admitted that his proposal for a broad smoking ban in restaurants could run into serious problems in the lower house of Parliament, due to intensive lobbying from producers. The government as a whole is against putting shocking images on cigarette packs as being too drastic. The Czech Republic has one of the highest number of smokers in Europe, particularly among the young generation.
Two mobile service providers will introduce first 4G networks in the Czech Republic; ČEZ and Czech Coal strike a major deal worth CZK 200 billion; Tesco is facing a possible fine over horsemeat; European Commission has begun reviewing the tax evasion case against the Czech government; Opposition Social Democrats say they will introduce higher taxes; Famous sportsmen invest in solar energy.
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