Barely half of all packaged food samples tested by inspectors actually contained the quantity of product indicated on the label, according to the finance ministry.
Inspectors from the federal finance ministry inspected 605 samples of packaged food, which by law must be labelled with the minimum quantity of the product they contain. In other words, a half-kilo of strawberries must contain 500g and not a gram less.
However, just over half of the sampled packages – 403 samples or 55% – that were collected in 165 different outlets, contained the minimum weight of product given on the label, inspectors found. The rest contained less than the weight indicated on the label.
The packages inspected covered a range of foodstuffs: fruit and vegetables, fish, meat and meat products, dairy, and prepared food like ready-meals.
The inspection focussed on businesses that prepare pre-packaged foods either for direct sale to consumers or to client businesses that then sell to customers.
The latter companies, larger in scale, were less likely to offend, inspectors found. More likely were the smaller companies who package their own materials which they label themselves, allowing a greater degree of leeway and making it easier to claim human error in the case of a customer complaining.
Among those companies found to have committed offences, some were given a warning, some were issued a summons, and others were referred to the local prosecutor for further action.
Perhaps counter-productively, the Ministry announced that further inspections would follow.