Food Inspections Reveal Widespread Deception in Restaurants: Nearly One in Four Misled Consumers

The State Agricultural and Food Inspection (SZPI) oversees the accuracy of information provided by public food establishments, particularly restaurants and fast-food outlets, regarding their menu offerings.

In 2023, SZPI inspectors conducted inspections across 194 different dining establishments. These inspections uncovered false and misleading information in 49 establishments, indicating illegal practices in a quarter of those surveyed. Moreover, some establishments were found to have multiple violations, totaling 60 findings.

Pavel Kopřiva, SZPI’s spokesperson, remarked, “The inspection results highlight a prevalent trend of consumer deception, particularly notable in offerings from Italian gastronomy, such as pizza, pasta, risotto, and more.”

Among the most common deceptive practices identified by inspectors were those involving dishes containing cheese. A prime example was the misuse of the protected designation of origin “Parmigiano-Reggiano” in 18 instances, where operators substituted the declared ingredient with a cheaper alternative possessing ostensibly similar taste properties.

Furthermore, inspectors uncovered 19 cases where the “Hermelín” cheese brand was falsely mentioned, with the actual ingredient being replaced by other cheese brands, such as camembert.

In addition to these concerning findings, inspectors scrutinized the segment of bottled drinks. They found significant discrepancies, notably in the labeling of spirits as “rum.” Shockingly, in nine cases, consumers were served beverages labeled as “rum” that were, in fact, “domestic wine” or another spirit not meeting the criteria for rum classification.

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