Copenhagen: Illegal products in immigrant shops

A new report reveals that many immigrant shops sell products without labels or dangerous cosmetics containing endocrine disruptors. A consulting firm has checked products at greengrocers and shops - primarily around Nørrebro. For example, over two thirds of 77 cosmetic products were illegal due to missing content labels - and many of the products contained endocrine disruptors.

According to Copenhagen deputy mayor for integration Jakob Hougaard lack of knowledge about regulations is a big and real problem: and that goes for both rules about handling food products as well as taxes. In the past consultants of immigrant background had advised shop owners, but that hasn't continued in the new regions. Therefore entrepreneurs should be advised better about the requirements and regulations.

Jakob Hougaard says that immigrants are good entrepreneurs, that make many initiatives to start off on their own, and that they should have help with it.

Uwe Brodersen of the Nørrebro trade association is shocked by the issue, saying that it's certainly serious if a consulting firm has fond such things here. And if they find so many illegal products, it's catastrophic.

According to the report many of the shop owners thought the products were legal when they're available now in Denmark. Uwe Brodersen says that therefore importers are also to blame for the illegal products. Many import companies want to earn money fast and so disregard the laws. He admits though that the responsibility for the product's legality is up to the shops in the end.

But the problems can also be caused since owners of immigrant shops don't get help to understand Danish regulations. Many have tried to help with both networks and projects, but either the shops drop out or the projects are held up. The so-called called community ambassadors, educated shop-owners of immigrant background, went out for a couple of years talking with other shop owners about their products. But now the project doesn't have more money.

Maria Daugaard of the Bispebjerg community center, says that the report reveals a need. It confirms that there's need for the project. It's important to strengthen the network so that shop owners can help each other. It doesn't help when they come every four years, they need reminders all the time.

Source: DR (Danish)

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