Bratislava, February 24 (TASR) – The Slovak Food Chamber (PKS) is assuring consumers that stores in Slovakia offer an ample range of foodstuffs that are on par quality-wise with items available on the shelves of stores in the EU’s original 15 member countries, TASR learnt from PKS director Jarmila Halgasova on Friday.
She spoke in response to a claim by Prime Minister Robert Fico on Thursday about the dual quality of some foodstuffs sold in various EU member states despite the fact that the products carry the same branding. Fico also said that there are some foodstuffs of inferior quality among the foreign products supplied to the Slovak market.
The premier’s claims were grounded in findings made by the Slovak Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry, prompting Fico to reach out to the other Visegrad Four [V4] countries [the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland] with the aim of convening a V4 summit. The meeting between the V4 prime ministers is set to take place in Poland next week.
On February 14, the ministry’s head Gabriela Matecna reported that laboratory tests confirmed that the quality of almost half of apparently identical products manufactured by major international producers is better in Austria than in Slovakia.
According to Halgasova, an incorrect interpretation of such results may produce the impression that Austrian stores sell superior-quality grocery items, which may ultimately prompt consumers to shop in Austria rather than in Slovakia. “PKS regrets that Government representatives failed to make use of the opportunity to discuss the issue of there being foodstuffs of a different quality with the representatives of grocery manufacturers and PKS,” she said.
PKS maintains that the status of Slovak food producers cannot be bolstered by making blanket disparaging remarks about grocery items made by foreign producers. Rather, what needs to be done is to help build a robust and competitive food-producing industry and enhance the standing of consumers.