An investigation conducted by the Polish regulator found that the supermarket chain was labelling fruit and vegetable as grown in Polish territory when they were in fact imported.
The Polish consumer protection body (UOKiK) has fined Jerónimo Martins over 60 million zlotys (13.2 million euros) for labeling fruits and vegetables as grown in Poland when they were imported. The group that owns the Biedronka supermarket chain will appeal the decision, saying it has “serious reservations” about the evidence collected by the regulator.
Regulator UOKiK said shoppers who made “patriotic” choices were misled at a time when the government was encouraging Poles to buy domestic produce to support the economy during the pandemic, Reuters reports.
An investigation conducted by the Polish regulator found in late 2019, as well as in 2020 and February 2021, that the supermarket chain was labelling fruit and vegetable as grown in Polish territory when they were in fact imported. Products with the incorrect labels were found in 27.8% of the stores.
the information about the country of origin of the fruits and vegetables signposted in stores was different from that on the packaging or delivery documents. Products with the incorrect labels were found in 27.8% of the stores.
“In Biedronka stores, consumers who wanted to buy Polish potatoes, tomatoes or apples were often misled,” UOKiK president Tomasz Chrostny said in a statement. “These violations were systemic and long-lasting,” he added.
Jerónimo Martins has already stated, in a press release, that it will appeal the decision, adressing that “the evidence in this case was not collected in an objective manner and its quality and completeness raise serious reservations.”