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Fresh Produce

Polish Watchdog Launches Investigation Into Mis-Labelling Of Fresh Produce

Poland's retail watchdog has launched an investigation after supermarket chain Biedronka was reportedly found to be selling fresh products, including Belgian carrots and Ukrainian cucumbers as being home grown.

The watchdog said Biedronka, part of Portuguese retail group Jeronimo Martins, had labelled the imported vegetables as Polish at a time when many Poles were making "patriotic" shopping choices.

Biedronka was not immediately available to comment. Jeronimo Martins had no immediate comment.

The government has encouraged Poles to buy Polish products to support the local economy during the coronavirus crisis.

Labelling Of Fruit And Vegetables

Tomasz Chrostny, who heads the anti-monopoly watchdog UOKiK, said consumers had complained that labels in the Biedronka chain stores were misleading as to the country of origin of fruit and vegetables.

"Consumers are increasingly guided by economic patriotism in their choices and are happy to reach for domestic products," the head of the watchdog said. "False information in Biedronka stores may have distorted their purchasing decisions."

The watchdog can impose fines of up to 10% of a company's annual turnover if its charges are confirmed.

Jeronimo Martin's Polish business is also under investigation by the watchdog for unfair dealings with suppliers and for the way it presented prices to clients.

Since coming to power in 2015, Poland's nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS) has taken various steps to protect domestic businesses. These have included a Sunday trading ban and attempts to impose a retail tax.

News by ReutersClick subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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