Italy’s ‘Pure’ Chocolate Law Breaks EU Rules on Candy Labeling
November 29, 2010
Italian rules allowing candy makers to label their products as “pure chocolate” breach European Union law, the region’s highest court said. Permitting chocolate made from pure cocoa butter to be called “cioccolato puro,” or “pure chocolate,” clashes with EU-wide measures, which allow chocolate laced with vegetable fats to be marketed as chocolate, the tribunal in Luxembourg said. EU law “makes no provision for the sales name pure chocolate,” the court said. Allowing an extra sales name for chocolate that contains no vegetable fat “is likely to mislead consumers and thus interfere with their right to obtain correct, neutral and objective information.” Chocolate rules have sparked legal battles since 1973, when the U.K., Ireland and Denmark joined the EU and balked at standards, which required chocolate to contain only cocoa fats. Under the old rules, countries such as Italy were allowed to block imports of chocolate made with alternative fats. Under the EU law, the labeling of products as chocolate is allowed for products that contain as much as 5 percent of vegetable fats other than cocoa butter. Italy is free to show that its chocolate consists of pure cocoa butter, without additional vegetable fats, by adding a statement to the packaging, the court said.