Unpacking the Omnibus Directive: the EU’s response to dual quality of goods

After receiving complaints from consumers in several EU countries that the quality of some food products was lower in their country of origin than in other EU countries, in 2017, the European Commission began investigating the issue of dual quality of goods, concluding that the issue deserved legislative attention.

Starting from the consideration that for food products, “significant differences” between the examined product and the reference product could potentially influence consumers’ purchasing choices and that the classification of “significant” and “non-significant” differences cannot be determined a priori, the European Commission introduced the Omnibus Directive, which amends the list of unfair commercial practices in Directive 2005/29/EC.

An interesting article published in Chambers written by Giorgio Rusconi and Laura Carrara analyzes the rules of the Omnibus Directive and the implications for the food and non-food sectors, outlining the criteria by which products can legitimately differ between EU member states.

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