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East Europeans get ally in food quality fight

Staff Writer |
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday that apparently identical food products should not be sold with inferior ingredients in eastern Europe.

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He is siding with those who say the practice amounts to discrimination.

The issue has become pressing for central and eastern European Union members who already fear losing influence within the EU as Germany, France and other western states consider closer integration.

Several studies have shown that many of the foods sold by multinational producers in eastern Europe contain cheaper, lower-quality ingredients than the identically branded versions sold in the west.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico met with Juncker on Thursday on behalf of the Visegrad countries, which also include the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

"I don't like the idea that there would be some kind of second category in Europe," Juncker told a joint news conference.

"We'll pursue our common intention to put an end to this discriminatory way of providing Slovak people with food products and other goods of lesser quality."

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