I wonder how many millions of euros in sales are lost by Cypriot manufacturers who fail to label their products in both English and Greek, leaving many potential customers confused.
Most Cyprus-made products, whether detergents, window cleaners, polishes, handwashes, fabric conditioners or varnishes bear labels and instructions for use only in Greek, which understandably is a legal requirement. There are some notable exceptions of enlightened Cypriot factories which do label in both languages.
However, the hundreds of mystified foreigners standing in front of supermarket shelves all over the island, especially in areas of high foreign population, should alert the manufacturers of domestic products to the fact that up to one-third of the clientelle is simply unable to read the contents of a bottle, and even if they decide that it is the product they need, will be unable to read the instructions for use.
This raises the risk not only of lost sales but also a serious safety issues, as a disinfectant may need different handling to say a dishwashing liquid. Public safety in the use of domestic chemicals is a serious issue that should immediately be addressed by the Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It is simply unacceptable that expatriates, foreign visitors and tourists should be unable to decipher the contents of a supermarket bottle or not understand the safe dosages and usage of the contents.
I would urge both the local manufacturers and the authorities to implement labelling in at the very least Greek and English. Pressure from the supermarkets would be helpful. It is no patriotic gesture to label only in Greek, while leaving our visitors and foreign householders in the dark.
Member of the English Speaking Union,