Ukrainians in the markets, shops and supermarkets are often sold counterfeit and low-quality products. In order not to harm your health and loved ones, you need to check the product visually and look at the labeling.
Elena Kulikova, Chairman of the Board of the Consumer Trust Association, spoke about this in a blitz interview with GLOBAL HAPPENINGS. She shared some helpful tips with consumers.
– What products are most often counterfeited in Ukraine and which should be paid the most attention to when buying?
– The most important recommendation is to buy products in retail chains in chain stores. Because often in the markets now there is a complete disgrace, otherwise I will not say. Suppose, for butter, I can rely on the studies that we conducted, and no matter how many recommendations there are on how to detect at home whether there is vegetable fat in the butter or not, this still does not give 100% guarantees. All you need is a lab test.
We checked the oil last fall, selected more than 20-24 positions, and as a result, 40% of them turned out to be counterfeit. So, unfortunately, adulterated oil can also be found in retail chains. That is, it is better to buy some proven brands that are on everyone’s lips. But those positions that were bought in the markets all turned out to be counterfeit. That is such a situation.
In principle, any processed products can falsify. That’s why it’s pretty hard right now. However, retail chains are at least some kind of guarantee. If the consumer is faced with the fact that the oil is of inadequate quality, he can always make this claim to the seller. However, if we buy a product on the market, we will not be able to present a claim to anyone.
Falsified and low-quality products can enter, for example, in the form of meat, sausages, processed meat products. Again, when a person buys something, he should look at the expiration date, the temperature conditions in which these sausages are sold. If we see a large number of pasted stickers, like one is glued on top of the other, and stores often do this to extend the life of the product, then I recommend trying to carefully peel them off and see what is written on the first sticker. That is, it will most likely be the most correct information.
– Where is the most dangerous place to buy goods? Yes, I understand these are markets and all sorts of food outlets on the streets?
– Yes. On the street, it’s a different story altogether. That is, we also do not recommend buying such things. That is, it is clear that we are used to buying vegetables, and it is normal that a person sees immediately. But processed products are better to buy in retail chains. The market is the problem.
– How can a simple consumer understand that the product is dangerous and he does not need to take it?
– Visually, again, we have the opportunity to inspect the product from the outside. So that it is of a normal, typical color, so that there is no condensation, for example, if vacuum packed. If there is condensation, this indicates that the tightness of the package is broken. We also check the integrity of the packaging, this is a guarantee of a quality product. Undoubtedly, we check the expiration date and the phrase “Apply to: ..”. That is, this is the most important thing that the consumer should pay attention to.
Also, of course, there should not be any signs of mold. If it is a product without packaging, a visual review is also needed. In extreme cases, you can ask to give a sniff of the product. We can identify the smell of a fresh product.
– Recently, I began to notice that a lot of dangerous products are imported to Ukraine from abroad. Is it possible to say which goods are the most and where they are most often transported from?
– It is impossible to say where they are specifically taken from. In Europe, there is a hazardous product alert system called RASFF. The State Food and Consumer Service is in contact with them, we have access to this system in an open window format, but, unfortunately, we are not members of the European Union. All products that enter Ukraine are informed by the State Consumer Service and, in theory, it should take measures to withdraw these low-quality products from the Ukrainian market. This is precisely according to the information coming through the RASFF alert system.
Again, when some excess of chemicals is found in nuts, biscuits, a simple person cannot determine it by taste, color, by eye. All this is done in the laboratory. Unfortunately, fortunately, this is the function of the state – to control the quality and safety of products that enter our market.
– That is, it can be said that when we join the European Union, then this whole situation with products and their quality will be much better?
– I want to believe it, because the European Union has a lot of mechanisms for dealing with dangerous products, the warning system also works and the market levels itself in this situation. Again, we also always urge consumers, if they encounter violations, see products of inadequate quality, to inform and write complaints to the State Food and Consumer Service. You can also share this information on social networks.
If we really see violations, then we should not pass by, because the more we are socially responsible in this regard, the more likely it is that our market will clear up over time.
– Given the current volumes of dangerous products and counterfeit products, can we say that our State Food and Consumer Service is working at an insufficient level? Is there any way to improve quality control?
“Unfortunately, the service does not work at the proper level for one simple reason: during the war, scheduled inspections of our manufacturers are prohibited, and this, of course, negatively affects the market. When the controlling function leaves, a huge number of manufacturers immediately appear who want to reduce the cost of producing their products. Therefore, they begin to falsify it, do not comply with the level of necessary requirements, etc.
– Could you give readers some advice: how and where to take food without fear for your health? Maybe some life hack or way.
– The most important life hack is retail chains, trusted stores and brands. We know that we have normal large companies that manufacture products, they have been on the market for a long time and are well known. Such companies are the least likely to go all out, because reputation is very important for them and you can ruin it in one second, and it will take much longer to restore it.
Also look at where the products are stored. For example, if the oil is not stored in the freezer, then there are already questions. Essentially, therefore, this oil has a reduced shelf life if the refrigerator is opened.
Earlier, GLOBAL HAPPENINGS reported that in Ukraine, in different market segments, the amount of counterfeit oil ranges from 20 to 80%. We are talking not only about what is sold by weight in the markets, but even about products from the shelves of supermarkets and shops.
I am a journalist who writes about economics and business. I have worked in the news industry for over 5 years, most recently as an author at Global Happenings. My work has focused on covering the economy news, and I have written extensively on topics such as unemployment rates, housing prices, and the financial crisis. I am also an avid reader and have been known to write about books that interest me.