OPINION

Risky complacency

It appears that our shady state system and the country’s complacent manufacturers pose a significant risk to us. The recent moldy yogurt scandal serves to exemplify this. To their credit, many consumers reacted as soon as they spotted the problem, informing the authorities, the manufacturer in question and various unions and media groups. What did the state services do? Well, they managed to keep the secret very well, received some assurances from the manufacturer regarding the withdrawal of the spoilt goods, and promptly filed the matter away. More specifically, the Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) did not inform consumers of the problem, did not oblige the responsible manufacturer to do so, and did not brief other state bodies (not even the political office of the Development Ministry). Apart from this, it studiously avoided answering journalists’ questions for days. Or, in other words, our extortionate state apparatus – crippled by corruption – did exactly what it has become accustomed to doing for years. And what did the manufacturer do? It pledged to withdraw from the market a large proportion of the spoiled yogurts, announced the number of a «consumer helpline» and waited for the fuss to die down, hoping that the true extent of the problem would not be revealed… That is to say, it did exactly what a firm would have done 20 years ago…