• Germany's news in English

Consumer food ingredient website crashes on launch

The Local · 20 Jul 2011, 08:55

Published: 20 Jul 2011 08:55 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The portal lebensmittelklarheit.de aims to offer clarity to consumers confused by labelling or advertising, according to Consumer Minister Ilse Aigner.

The site went online on Wednesday, set up by the national network of consumer advice centres and financed by Aigner’s ministry.

But it crashed almost straight away, with 20,000 requests a second overwhelming the server, according to a spokeswoman for the consumer advice centre in Hesse.

Whether this was due to a targeted denial of service attack could not be immediately ascertained, but it seems less than likely that all those requests were genuine.

The site says it will give consumers the chance to register products which have disappointed or confused them – and will offer producers the chance to enter a dialogue with shoppers about the products.

But Aigner is now being attacked from both sides, with farmers and the food industry accusing her of pandering to unfounded fears, and the Greens saying she is leaving consumers rather than producers with all the responsibility to highlight problems.

Chairman of the parliamentary agriculture committee Michael Goldman of the Free Democrats, told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that Aigner was doing nothing more than playing to the fears of consumers, while Matthias Horst, manager of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries said it was a pillory.

Goldmann said it would be dangerous to name specific products, although he admitted that some signs on food products could be useful to correct misunderstandings, “But that is a job for lawmakers and does not belong in the hands of consumer councils,” he said.

Horst said what he called claims about named products, or producers, would not be acceptable. “That is a pillory on which products will be shown up which are perfectly legal,” he said. He would not rule out legal action from companies concerned.

Yet Bärbel Höhn, deputy head of the Green parliamentary party, said Aigner had shown little backbone in her dealings with the food industry, and repeated calls for a simple labelling system showing a product’s salt, sugar and fat content. This has so far been rejected.

Story continues below…

Nicole Maisch, Green spokeswoman for consumer policy said it was a step in the right direction, but that Aigner needed to be more active. “Deceptive packaging or deliberate confusion of consumers must be banned,” she told the Frankfurter Rundschau.

DAPD/The Local/hc

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd