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Often missing indications of origin for fruit and vegetables: consumer advice center criticizes missing origin labeling
Customers who want to find out about the origin of the items when buying fruit and vegetables often face considerable hurdles. Because the products are often on the market without an indication of origin.
The Consumer Advice Center North Rhine-Westphalia found out in a sample survey that many fruit and vegetable dealers in North Rhine-Westphalia do not disclose the countries of origin of their goods. In the course of their investigation, eight out of ten traders did not comply with the mandatory labeling of the country of origin. Those who prefer to do without products from certain countries due to possible pollution or unsatisfactory working conditions on site often have no way of getting reliable information.
Origin labeling of fruit and vegetables is often insufficient According to information from the consumer advice center, eight out of ten retailers in the sample violated the labeling requirements. As part of their sample survey, consumer protection groups had examined 88 fruit and vegetable stands at weekly markets, in supermarkets, at discounters, retailers and in organic food stores. With 284 fruit and vegetable offers, the experts found that neither the price tag nor the goods had the origin label directly on them. In addition, there were contradictory information on the label and on the goods in 62 cases. In 26 cases, several exporting countries were even stated on the labels, according to the North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Agency on Monday in Düsseldorf. In addition, the country codes for 15 products in foreign language and four articles were given unknown abbreviations. On average, five deficiencies per dealer were found, the consumer advocates said.
Consumers have a right to information "Consumers have a right to an exact statement of origin", because "only in this way can they make the right purchase decision for them?" Emphasized the head of the consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia, Klaus Müller. In addition, with a few exceptions, "for fruits and vegetables (...) the indication of origin (...) is mandatory" explained Müller in view of the results of the sample investigation. The expert warned the retailers to train their staff better and to ensure that the range was properly labeled. "With regard to the lively origins and labels (...), consumers shouldn't be guesswork while shopping," emphasized Müller. If you can't figure out the origin of the vegetable and fruit stands, you can also switch to the regional offer. In addition to purchasing directly from the producer on site, more and more cities now have the option of receiving weekly fruit and vegetables from regional producers via the so-called vegetable crate. However, only products corresponding to the season and the cultivation options are offered here. Bananas, oranges, lemons, kiwis or similar tropical fruits cannot be bought here. (fp)
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