“This has to be regulated at the European level to simply ban major global corporations that export both to Eastern Europe and to Western Europe to produce and sell products under the same brands but use different recipes,” he told BNS on Wednesday.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in his State of the Union speech to the European Parliament earlier in the day that he “will not accept that in some parts of Europe, people are sold food of lower quality than in other countries, despite the packaging and branding being identical”.
He said that national authorities should be given “stronger powers to cut out any illegal practices wherever they exist”.
Markauskas described the proposal as an attempt by the European Commission “to shake off the responsibility”. The minister said that he would approve giving more powers to the Lithuanian State Food and Veterinary Service, but this would not help much in this situation.
“I see that the European Union and the European Commission are trying to shake off the responsibility. If this is not regulated at the European level, then what can the Lithuanian Food and Veterinary Service do to the Coca-Cola Company? In principle, there are no violations today because the ingredients are listed correctly,” the minister said.
Under the EU’s rules, companies are free to change the ingredients of a product in different member countries if the ingredients are clearly indicated on the packaging.