Food Law News - EU - 2006

Committee Report, 6 December 2006

CHOCOLATE Discussions in the Standing Committee on the Use of Sweeteners in Chocolate and the Labelling of Chocolate

Extract from the report of the meeting of the 8th December of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health - Section on General Food Law

1. Letter from Denmark concerning:

a) Chocolate products, defined in Annex I (A) (2c d) and (3- 10), that have been placed on the market with no added sugars, or which contain both sugar and sweeteners even though they are not reduced by 30% in energy. (Document SANCO/A/2006/540346)

b) Chocolate products, defined in Annex I (A) (7) and (10) that have been placed on the market without the indication of the total dry cocoa solids content. (Document SANCO/A/2006/540346)

The Danish delegation reiterated the doubts already expressed in its letter of 25.11.2005 according to which it is not clear whether a cocoa product containing no added sugars would be in compliance with the definition of chocolate and could be labelled as such according to the provisions of Annex I of Directive 2000/36/EC.

On the other hand, the Danish delegation also pointed out that the labelling requirements as regards the indication of the percentage cocoa content of products provided for in Annex I(7) and (10), where they are used as ingredient, are not sufficiently clear

The Commission (DG AGRI) representative confirmed the position already expressed on these subjects, which have been discussed in the Standing Committee in 2002. On partial or total replacement of sugar, in particular, the Commission reiterated that products covered by Directive 2000/36/EC may contain sweeteners provided that the conditions of Directive 94/54/EC are fulfilled.

Several delegations also recalled that the subject has already been discussed in the Committee previously. One delegation added that the CODEX definition of chocolate is in line with the Commission interpretation. One delegation noted that the real problem is the difficulty for a "chocolate" product to meet the 30% energy reduction criteria, which is the criterion for making a "reduced energy" claim, even when no sugar is added. The fruit jams Directive (2001/113/EC) which makes a specific reference to the possibility of sugars being wholly or partly replaced by sweeteners was mentioned as an example to be followed and it was suggested by a number of delegations that the Directive 2000/36/EC on cocoa products be modified to follow the same approach. It was therefore concluded that, as already concluded in 2002 within the Standing Committee (See summary record of 4th meeting December 19th, 2002 Section on Toxicological Safety of the Food Chain point 11), chocolate products in which the added sugar has been totally or partially replaced by sweeteners are not prohibited by Directive 2000/36/EC in so far that they comply with the labelling requirements applicable to foodstuffs containing sweeteners.

egarding the second question, it is recalled that an interpretation note issued by DG AGRI in 2001 states that the labelling requirements applicable to chocolate products pursuant to Directive 2000/36/EC also apply where these products are used as ingredients in foodstuffs. That interpretation note is attached to the present minutes [See pages 5-7 of:]

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