ECJ judgement - Chocolate powder = chocolate in powder form?

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in the case of milk chocolate desserts with hazelnuts, which were marketed in the Czech Republic. The list of ingredients of the milk chocolate desserts with hazelnuts included the ingredient "chocolate in powder form". However, the composition of this ingredient was not further defined.

According to Annex VII, Part E, No 2 a) of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 (LMIV), the list of ingredients is not compulsory for compound ingredients where the composition of the compound ingredient is defined in current Union provision, provided that the compound ingredient constitutes less than 2% of the finished product.

Annex I of the Czech language version of the Cocoa and Chocolate Directive 2000/36/EC specifies the name "chocolate powder". According to the Czech authorities, a breakdown of ingredients could only be omitted if the exact wording from Directive 2000/36/EC was used. The food business concerned, on the other hand, took the view that the indication "chocolate in powder form", which is a separate Czech translation of other language versions of Directive 2000/36/EC, is equivalent to the official translation "chocolate powder".

 The ECJ interpreted the food law provisions very narrowly and ruled against the food business operator. If the company wants to rely on the exemption provision of Annex VII, Part E, No 2 c) of the LMIV, this is only possible if the designation defined in current in legislation actually applies. A free translation of the name of an ingredient is inadmissible. The fact that the ingredient in question meets the requirements of a chocolate powder as defined in Annex I, Part A, No 2 c) of Directive 2000/36/EC does not alter the fact that only the name in the exact wording of the relevant directive can provide an adequate, high level of consumer protection in relation to food information.

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