At a press conference on 20 February in Budapest, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Minister of State for Food Chain Supervision Róbert Zsigó announced that Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas has ordered another comprehensive analysis of similar products available in both Hungarian and foreign retail stores. The National Food Chain Safety Office (NFCSO) has already begun the task.

“Assuring public access to good quality foods is of key importance to the Government, the Ministry and the NFCSO. Several measures have been introduced to this end in recent years; public awareness and information programme shave been launched. The primary goal of the drawing up and regular expansion of the Hungarian Food Book (Codex Alimentarius) is also to protect our traditions and guarantee the high quality of our foods. It is also in this spirit that the regulations on meat products, bread and other bakery products have been made stricter recently”, Mr. Zsigó explained.

The “Supermenta” programme launched by the NFCSO a year ago serves to increase public awareness and to provide information to the population. Within the framework of the programme, experts from the Office perform the sensory, laboratory and preference testing of various product groups every month. “For the past few months the Ministry has been developing documentation on increasing the quality of foods and developing consumer awareness, which will soon be put before the Cabinet”, the Minister of State said.

Previous tests by the NFCSO received renewed publicity in recent days. Staff from the Office purchased 24 different foods of the same brand in the shops of retail chains operating in both Hungary and Austria. During the course of the investigation, it transpired that in most cases there are differences in both quality and content. The Government indicated this problem in 2015 and voted in favour of joint action on the issue at the V4 summit in April 2016.

“This is primarily a moral issue, not a legal issue. The Hungarian people expect to be able to purchase the same quality foods from the multinational companies involved as Austrian consumers”, the Minister of State stressed. “We are not awaiting explanations, only fair and correct treatment. People have had enough of double standards”, Mr. Zsigó declared.

Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas has ordered another comprehensive analysis of similar foods available in domestic and foreign retain stores. Experts from the NFCSO have begun the sensory and laboratory testing of these products. “We will not allow Hungarian consumers to be hit with ‘double standards’. The Government of Hungary will continue to stand up for Hungarian families and Hungarian consumers, and until the issue is settled we recommend everyone purchases high quality Hungarian products and Hungarian foods”, the Minister of State emphasised.

(Ministry of Agriculture Press Office)