HUNGARY: Danone subsidiary found guilty of misleading consumers
Gyôri Keksz, the Hungarian biscuit manufacturing subsidiary of French food giant Danone, has been handed a Ft2m (US$7,300) fine by the Gyôr-Moson-Sopron county Consumer Protection Authority, for providing false product information to consumers.
István Simon, head of the Authority, explained that the company had been found guilty of "violation of food law".
József Balogh, Mayor of Gyôr, first raised questions over the company's use of the Gyôri brand in August last year. At that time, Gyôr local authorities were engaged in a bitter dispute with Gyôri Keksz, prompted by Danone's decision to move production of certain products to foreign locations and close the Gyôr plant.
Following intense pressure this decision was reversed in November, but not before an investigation had begun into accusations that Gyôri Keksz was wrongly using the Gyôri label on products which had actually been produced in Poland and the Czech Republic, misleading consumers who thought they were buying Hungarian-manufactured products. The Authority has now upheld this complaint.
The company has announced it does not accept the Authority's decision and it has not violated any international food regulations. Its PR agency Noguchi & Peters said that the decision was still subject to appeal and therefore not legally binding.
A spokesman from the agency told the Budapest Sun newspaper: "The decision in no way concerns the Gyôri brand name, but instead concerns product descriptions, such as labelling products as containing real chocolate, or the quantity of poppy seed."
To read about the issue when it was first raised last August, click here.
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