Multinational food retailers to face strict regulations in Hungary?

Food

jessica fejos

A bill is thought likely to be submitted to Hungary’s Parliament soon that could introduce strict new regulations and taxes for multinational food retail chains in Hungary, spurred by Hungarian food safety authority NÉBIH’s “subjective” report on food quality, Hungarian online news portal index.hu reported yesterday, citing a leaked draft of the bill.

The Hungarian daily says it is expected the draft bill will be submitted to Parliament soon by Cabinet Chief János Lázár, who has attacked multinationals many times, and Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga. 

Under the draft bill, new tax would be levied on multinationals on parking lots, the amount of money these companies can spend on advertising would be regulated, free bus services currently offered by companies connecting their hypermarkets to settlements would be rendered impossible, and multinationals would be required to raise employee numbers, the Hungarian daily reports

The government did not refute the information of the news portal, yet. Lázár is expected to comment on the matter today during his weekly press conference.

Lázár earlier urged the government to launch a probe into identically branded products in Hungary and Austria, addressing the findings of a report by food safety authority NÉBIH that claimed multinationals offer “lower-quality” products here. In a statement sent to the BBJ at the time, a trade association rejected the report as “subjective”.

Hungary’s Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas was later reported to have ordered Hungarian food safety authority NÉBIH to conduct an inspection comparing the quality of identically branded products available at domestic and foreign retail stores, to reveal if there are any differences, while Hungary’s National Association of Food Processors (ÉFOSZ) announced it would be contacting NÉBIH, angered that it only learned about a food quality probe after the event and through the media.

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