“The Ministry of Agriculture would like to set things straight with regard to product labelling and the trademark market as part of the Government’s twenty-point action plan aimed at improving food quality and increasing consumer awareness”, the Ministry’s Minister of State for Food Chain Supervision Róbert Zsigó said in a statement for Hungarian daily Magyar Idők.

According to the article, which was published in the Tuesday edition of the paper, it could transpire within just a few weeks whether Brussels will approve the Hungarian proposal for the labelling of food products that are distributed in differing qualities in Western and Eastern Europe. “If the European Commission gives Hungary a positive response then it will become compulsory large multinational food producers to indicate on their product labelling if the contents or quality of the given product brand is different to those distributed in other countries”, Mr. Zsigó told the paper.

“Regulations on food labelling fall under the sphere of competence of the EU, with member states having very little room for movement. We hope that Brussels will support the Hungarian proposal for including differing quality on product labelling”, the minister of State said.

With relation to the recently adopted twenty-point food quality strategy, Mr. Zsigó highlighted that in addition to stricter food book regulations and the development of food safety authority monitoring, one of the important elements of the package of measures is increasing consumer awareness. “The most important with relation to foods of differing qualities is also that consumers should know what to look out for when shopping. The Ministry of Agriculture has been given a budget of one and a half billion forints (EUR 5 million) to spend on this task over the next few years”, he explained.

“In addition to labelling, the strategy also aims at putting things in order on the trademark market, in view of the fact that there are large numbers of quality guarantee indications in distribution. Many types of trademark are used on the Hungarian market, and consumers are finding increasingly difficult to know what guarantees are indicated by which trademark. This is one of the reasons why is it important to find the points where we can simplify the system”, the Minister of State said. “In addition, the Outstanding Quality Hungarian Food trademark will also be modernised and will be receiving an S-QR code background, enabling consumers to find out all the relevant information about a product at the press of a button”, the article states.

(Ministry of Agriculture/MTI)