World News

Bulgaria to press EU over 'double standards' in food products

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria has found that food products sold by multinational companies in the country contained different ingredients to identical-brand products sold in Austria and Germany, and said it would press the European Union to tackle this “double standard”.

Agriculture Minister Rumen Porozhanov told reporters after a cabinet meeting that laboratory tests had found different ingredients in seven of 31 identical-brand food items sold in Bulgaria. Experts also found that 16 of the products had been sold at higher prices in the European Union’s poorest state, he said.

“It definitely causes anxiety,” he said. “The double standards are a fact”.

Porozhanov declined to name the products or companies involved.

Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary have criticised several global food companies, saying it is unethical for products sold under the same brand to be inferior in quality.

Porozhanov said Sofia would join their efforts to lobby within the EU to bring an end to the practice.

Bulgaria launched a round of testing on different meat, dairy, baby food, chocolate and juice products in May.

Consumer groups have complained about the use of different ingredients in identically branded products, but they have made little progress as EU law only requires that packaging contain a clear list of all ingredients.

Porozhanov said Bulgaria would send the results of its tests to the European Commission’s consumer affairs chief Vera Jourova.

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Hugh Lawson