EU bureaucrats might not consider British chocolate the real thing – they want to rename it ‘vegelate’ or ‘milk chocolate with a high milk content’. (Daily Mail, 8 April 1998, p16)
Firstly, it was the elected representatives in the European Parliament which recently voted for tougher rules on how chocolate could be described in the EU, not the European Commission.
Secondly, as part of a review of the 1973 Cocoa and Chocolate Products Directive, the Commission has proposed a system of minimum labelling rules. The aim is for labels on chocolate to give a clear, neutral and objective indication of the fats used (such as ‘non cocoa vegetable fat’) in a list of ingredients. This does not mean that chocolate has to be renamed – on the contrary, it would allow different chocolate making traditions to co-exist in a genuinely harmonised market.
There has never been a proposal from the Commission to call some kinds of chocolate “vegelate” or “milk chocolate with a high fat content” – just to see them labelled clearly. Far from degrading “British chocolate”, this proposal has the potential to improve opportunities for exports of chocolate from the UK throughout the EU.