Europe

Top EU court rejects Italy's 'pure chocolate' label

Dark chocolate - file pic
Image caption The EU has bitter experience of defining what constitutes chocolate

Italy must stop using the marketing label "pure chocolate" to describe chocolate made with 100% cocoa butter, the EU's top court says.

Italy faces a fine if it fails to amend its law. The judges in Luxembourg said EU law "makes no provision for the sales name 'pure chocolate'".

A neutral statement on the label should indicate the presence of vegetable fats besides cocoa butter, they said.

The EU changed its chocolate labelling rules in 2000.

The European Commission, which polices the single market, took Italy to court over the "pure chocolate" name.

EU law says chocolate containing up to 5% of non-cocoa vegetable fats can still be called "chocolate".

Substitute vegetable fats are commonly included in chocolate sold in the EU. Manufacturers' use of them - especially in the UK - triggered a row in the EU and prompted the directive of 2000.

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