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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Poland's Trade Inspection controls organic foods

< previous | next > 12.09.2016

Poland's Trade Inspection controls organic foods

Organic food products are subject to strict rules and involve the use of natural ingredients produced without artificial pesticides or fertilizers. Unfortunately, the markets, stores and stands that offer them sometimes sell goods that are not in fact organic.

UOKiK commissioned Poland’s Trade Inspection (Inspekcja Handlowa - IH) to carry out inspections throughout Poland in the first quarter of 2016. It inspected 161 different outlets, including retail chains, health food stores, wholesalers and e-shops. The IH checked the quality of organic products including juices, honey, pasta, fruits and vegetables, meat and meat products. It also looked at product labeling. Only 15 samples (2.5 percent) were questioned for non-compliance with the requirements.

In laboratory testing UOKiK examined the quality of 173 samples of organic agricultural products, challenging 9 percent, or 16 samples. It questioned canned tomatoes of inferior quality, and a product with lower sugar content than the label stated. Some goods lacked information on the origin of raw materials.  79 products, or 12.6 percent of those tested, were incompatible with the general provisions on labeling, including 14 for violation of regulations on organic farming. The results represent a slight rise over the 11 percent of the products tested last year. 

In addition, the Trade Inspection also questioned information on some of the labels, such as “gluten-free" on products that did not contain cereals. Consumers could also encounter coconut milk and soy labled „genetically unmodified”, but organic products by law may not contain GMOs, while the intention of the producer was to give a particular line unique properties.

Inspectors also pointed out that the labeling conventional products to suggest organic production methods were used amounts to misleading consumers. Honey manufacturers were found to have unlawfully labeled product as “100% bio” and "eco", whereas “bio”, “eco” and “organic” labels can be used only for products containing at least 95 percent natural ingredients, meaning free of genetically modified foods, artificial fertilizers and chemical pesticides.

Inspectors informed the State Sanitary Inspection, State Veterinary Inspection and Agriculture and Food Quality Inspection of the test results. The Trade Inspection has also initiated 21 proceedings.

Additional information for the media

Press Office, UOKiK
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warsaw
Phone.: +48 22 827 28 92, +48 22 55 60 314, +48 22 55 60 430
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