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Pet food manufacturing is the driving force of Hungary's agricultural exports

Customers get overall quality guarantees for locally manufactured pet food although they are responsible for the right choice of perfect food for their pets

Pet food exports increased by 40% in 2003. This is the second biggest rate in the past 5 years. Between 1999 and 2003, imports only increased by 11%, which is the lowest rate in the period.

Over the past 5 years, there was a four-fold increase in pet food exports: from HUF 13 billion in 1999 to HUF 54 billion in 2003. In the meantime, imports grew by 80% only.

The European Union and the now acceding countries are the biggest market for Hungarian exports. Non-EU markets, including Romania and Russia, are also important as they receive 28% of the exports. Therefore, it is a vital industry interest to maintain the current duty rates on Hungarian products exported to these countries after the accession.

March, 2004 - Hungarian Pet Food Manufacturers' Association held a press conference. It published recent data on the manufacture of pet food showing that the Hungarian pet food industry is still the driving force of Hungary's agricultural exports; in the past 5 years, this industry quadrupled its exports.

According to István Hell, vice president, Hungarian manufacturers are ready to increase their performance under the conditions of the common market and also to keep their positions on the local market. Optimistic expectations are based on the fact that Hungarian quality goods perform well on international markets: they are competitive and safe in all respects. In the past decade, the Association's main goal was to adapt the FEDIAF's manufacturing guidelines that guarantee safe and quality pet food manufacturing.

The manufacture of pet food is subject to legislation on food and feed safety. Dr. Zsuzsa Rigó, veterinarian, metropolitan feed inspector said that according to her experience the Hungarian control system works well compared with international standards that is, yet again, a safety guarantee for the consumers. On the other hand manufacturers guarantee the manufacturing conditions, the quality of the product and the nutrition and consumer protection information on the labels.

The health condition and quality of life of companion animals is determined by the food adequate to their species, age, lifestyle and physical condition. Health problems can be prevented by careful shopping: customers should read carefully label information that is essential to the enforcement of consumer rights. Manufacturers and distributors should use labels in Hungarian bearing all the necessary information: designation, manufacturer or distributor, expiry date, analytical values and ingredients of the product, as well as its feeding and storing instructions. This is also valid for the ?by weight? sale from opened original packaging.

Dr. Zsuzsa Kajdiné Suhajda, a consumer protection expert of the Ministry of Economy and Transport, provided information on the means facilitating consumers' decisions. These include unit prices and label information. Of course, it is possible to enforce consumer rights even after the purchase of the product. Consumers will have more esponsibilities in making decisions under the conditions of the common market since, after 1 May, local shops will probably be suddenly flooded by masses of unknown products.

Manufacturers can deal with the consumer complaints most of all if these are addressed directly to the consumer service contact points printed on the label; thus complaints can be settled within a few days. It is important that customers also consider this aspect when choosing the right product.

Hungarian Petfood Association

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