The EU Parliament recently adopted Resolution 2018/2008(INI) (the Resolution) on dual quality products, i.e. products that are advertised and sold under the same brand name and packaging design but vary in ingredients, composition, weight or quality.
The Resolution resulted from concerns arising after tests performed on food products in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic showed considerable differences in ingredients and composition compared with identical products sold in other EU Member States. Such differences, identified in both food and non-food products, not only cause difficulties for consumer fairness and the functioning of the internal market, but also potential consumer product safety concerns.
The Resolution complements the actions announced in the Commission’s New Deal for Consumers initiative and contains a number of recommendations, including:
- for the Commission to carry out checks in manufacturers’ factories and conduct audits in order to verify a product’s composition;
- that the Commission incorporate a “clear definition of what can be considered dual quality” to its amendment proposal of Article 6 of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD);
- amending Annex I of the UCPD to introduce dual quality products onto its ‘blacklist’; and
- prompting manufacturers to consider including a logo on their packaging that would indicate that the content and quality of the same brand is the same across Member States
The adopted text is now expected to be put to the EU Council and Commission for consideration, while the proposed amendment to the UCPD is anticipated to be put to a vote in November 2018