Bratislava, February 14 (TASR) – Laboratory tests have confirmed that the quality of almost half of the same products manufactured by supranational producers is better in Austria than in Slovakia, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matecna (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) told a news conference held on Tuesday with State Veterinary and Food Directorate (SVPS) chairman Jozef Bires in attendance.
Supranational producers or brands thus create two classes of consumers, stated Matecna, adding that sweetened drinks, spices, cheese, teas and meat products came out the worst in the testing.
“The tests’ results have only confirmed the worries we’ve repeatedly communicated to the EU’s institutions. We found big differences that considerably influence the quality in half of the tested products. Naturally, the differences were to the detriment of international products sold in Slovakia,” stated Matecna. In her words, consumers do not expect to have more synthetic dyes, sweeteners or lower meat content in the same packaging of a product.
“We purchased identical products of the same brand in Austria and in Slovakia. We bought 22 products in total,” specified Bires.
According to Bires, inspectors also judged labels, i.e. specification of ingredients, nutritional indicators and allergens. Individual groups underwent laboratory analyses on some qualitative indicators. These were, for example, meat content in meat products, fat content and protein content in milk products, cocoa content in chocolates and the presence of additives – preservatives, sweeteners and dyes.
Alcohol-free beverages ended up the worst in the testing with more sweeteners and preservatives being found in supranational brand products for Slovak customers. Bags of tea of the same weight in Slovak outlets had a lower intensity of fragrance and taste, while meat products for Slovak consumers had lower meat content, reported Bires.
Matecna stressed that consumers should read the labels of products they buy thoroughly and not let themselves be caught by retailers’ marketing practices. “I recommend all consumers to prefer Slovak products,” she stressed, adding that the ministry will continue to intensively deal with this issue and it will submit the survey’s results to the European Commission.