Romanian watchdog finds double standards in food quality

Confirming consumers’ long-time suspicions and reinforcing similar experiences in other Eastern European countries, the Romanian Authority of Consumer Protection found standard deviations in 23% of the examined cases between food products sold in Western European countries and in Romania. – the director of the institution, Anghel Paul told national news agency Agerpres.

According to the official, the composition of 80 food products was examined within a Europe-wide investigation. Products sold in Romania were compared with identical branded products from the western part of the European Union, and deviation was found in 18 cases.

The difference was found in the composition of the products; for example the flavorings were not identical to the Western European products, or were not used in the same proportion. But in some cases the ones traded in Romania even lacked some of the ingredients completely. However, Anghel emphasized that the authority does not want to clearly state that a double standard of some brands -sold in Western Europe and in Romania – does indeed exists.

But the specific examples mentioned by the director of the Consumer Protection Authority seem to confirm the suspicion. The investigation showed that the Freeway soft drink contains 3% orange juice in Romania, while in Spain the ratio is 8%, in France 10% and in Italy 20%. Another example is Fanta, which contains only 5% orange in Romania, while 8% in Spain, 10% in France, and 12% in Italy. And in the case of Milka chocolate the investigation showed that the Romanian version contains only 17% nuts, while the French version of the same type of chocolate has 22%.

Looking at the price level of the products only within Romania, companies are using different pricing policies even between the different regions of the country. This is why the same bar of chocolate in the same brand retail chain is more expensive in Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca than, say, Suceava County.

The quality investigation of the food products in Romania started after the Visegrád Four countries protested against the alleged double standard of certain products sold by international FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) companies both in Western and in Central Eastern European countries.

Author: Attila Szoó