Pack2Go Europe demands EU vigilance on imported packaging standards

28 November 2013

Representatives of Europe’s leading convenience food packaging association, Pack2Go Europe, have called for tighter vigilance on packaging imports from China and elsewhere that fail to meet Europe’s stringent internal standards.

CEOs from food & beverage service companies and convenience packaging manufacturers met EU officials and representatives of national market surveillance organisations in Brussels to discuss action on the phenomenon, which they say “may present health and safety risks for European consumers”.

Tony Waters of Solo Europe, and outgoing President of Pack2Go Europe, said: “We in Europe rightly expect our packaging to be manufactured to the highest levels of safety and quality and Pack2Go Europe companies are proud to deliver on that expectation.

“The problem is double standards are being applied because national market surveillance organisations and customs services don’t adequately check imports from outside the EU.”

A survey of its members carried out by Pack2Go Europe this month shows that 87% of respondents reported experiencing loss in market share in the past that can be directly attributed to cheaper imports that may not be meeting the EU’s demanding standards.

According to the organisation, which is concerned about the risks to consumers, 73% of respondents said they are currently suffering from such unfair competition.

“It’s all very well to keep piling regulatory demands onto packaging made in Europe, but if we don’t demand the same of imports then consumers are not protected,” says Jan Schuermann of SwissPrimePack, the newly elected Pack2Go Europe boss.

“It’s just too easy for third country producers to take shortcuts and get away with it.

“We want the control authorities to put this issue on their priority list, which is why we met the experts in Brussels this week (November 2013).”

The problem is compounded, Pack2Go Europe says, by importers and distributors who may either realise that these imported goods are not meeting all the rules and turn a blind eye, or “don’t bother to check properly”.

However, nearly 60% of the manufacturers surveyed by Pack2Go Europe were of the opinion that service packaging users in Europe (such as snack bars, convenience food stores and catering companies) are not aware that the imported products they buy from distributors may not conform to EU requirements.

“It’s time for service packaging users to start asking questions about the quality of imported products and demanding serious answers from importers and distributors,” said Schuermann.

“Recent reports out of China show that locally manufactured packaging is not even meeting Chinese rules. It’s naive to think they are meeting ours when nobody ever checks.”

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