Two years after a law aiming to clamp down on bootleg wine sales and low quality wines came into force it still sparks controversy among wine-growers and wine sellers. While the Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority claims the quality of wines sold on the market has significantly improved, small wine makers say it is putting them out of business.
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.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met with representatives of Nestlé, Unilever
and other multi-national food retailers to discuss the issue of dual food
quality on Thursday morning. According to the Czech News Agency, there is
information that these retailers make it impossible for Czech traders to
purchase better-quality food made for West European markets. Speaking after
the meeting, Mr. Babiš said that this allegation was dismissed by the
retailers, who stated that differences in their product composition were a
consequence of the specific tastes customers have in each country.
The issue of dual-quality revolves around allegations that food companies are supplying lower quality versions of the same product for markets located in Central and Eastern Europe, as opposed to Western markets.
The Czech Ministry of Agriculture wants to introduce fines of up to CZK 50
million for companies that distribute food products in this country that
are of poorer quality than in other EU markets. The minister of
agriculture, Miroslav Toman, said on Monday that products sold in the Czech
Republic in similar wrappings had to have the same ingredients and
Mr. Toman said a new law imposing hefty fines for dual quality could be in place in 12 months. In the past tests have indicated that some products sold in the Czech Republic were inferior to those marketed in states such as Germany and Austria under the same brands.
The Civic Democrats have come out with a new amendment to Czech driving legislation, which would allow drivers to have up to two lagers before taking the wheel. They hope to table the proposal at the next session of the Chamber of Deputies, but there appears to be scant support for the idea in the lower house.
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