A discussion about Maltese products and about whether all such products are genuine took place on the Popolin programme. Unfortunately, the Maltese market is being flooded with products which appear to be Maltese but which in reality are manufactured in other countries, such as China and Egypt. The question is then whether Maltese artisans, farmers and products are being safeguarded.
Products which appear to be Maltese but which in reality are not local include food products, agricultural produce, artisan products like lace, and various types of souvenirs. Malta’s membership of the European Union in 2004 brought with it various challenges for Maltese artisans, because many products previously manufactured locally started being imported from abroad. And consumers are being misguided as products manufactured abroad may show a Maltese Cross or some text in Maltese, which makes consumers assume the product is Maltese, authentic and genuine.
At present Malta has no food products on the European Union list which safeguards specific names of products coming from a particular region or zone in Europe.
Director of Commerce Godwin Warr explained that as long as a product is properly manufactured and shows where it has been manufactured, its importation cannot be stopped. Mr Warr added that it is the responsibility of the consumer and the tourist to ask and ascertain the product is genuinely Maltese. “We certainly should not tolerate any form of deceit, which is why there is a consumers’ law.”
Mr Warr added that the department is working together with Maltese artisans to distribute labels showing the artisan QR code. Through this code one can access all details about the product as well as about artisans and their work.
In which case, before purchasing a product which may appear to be Maltese, check on the packaging or the product itself to make sure it is genuinely Maltese.