Published: 28.11.2000 〉 Heft 12/2000 〉 Resort: Articles
Submitted: N. A. 〉 Feedback to authors after first review: N. A. 〉 Accepted: N. A.
Designations of Origin and Consumer DeceptionConsumers cannot verify the accuracy of statements regarding product origin. Product origin is a credence quality. The European Community attends to this information problem by establishing various legal provisions e.g. the directive about food labelling, the council regulation on the common definition of the concept of the origin of goods, and the regulation regarding labelling of beef and beef products. Moreover, the Community has established a framework on origin-related product names by enacting the Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2081/92. Yet, this framework does not regulate all designations of origin which can be met in the Single European Market. And hence, consumers may be misled. One possibility of preventing deception is to prohibit designations of origin other than those regulated by the Community. In contrast, the article deals with prevention of consumer deception by governmentally provided consumer information . In general, governmentally consumer information regarding product origin is delivered either by advertising (e.g. governmental participation in generic advertising programs) or labelling. By applying the NEW THEORY OF CONSUMER CHOICE and by following EC's view regarding consumers' handling of information it could be pointed out that additional information has to be delivered by labelling rather than advertising. Thus, it has been concluded that consumer deception regarding origin-related product names should be prevented by statutory labelling of the relevant Community symbol, at least within the framework of the Council Regulation. More effective and far reaching would be a facultative labelling system which comes along with an information campaign. The system would effectively and credibly enable communication of designations of origin even if corresponding statements rest on different geographical origins, ingredients included, or production stages covered. And the information campaign would deliver corresponding consumer information in order to enable understanding of various statements and thus, would increase the effectiveness of the labelling system.