Belgium Chocolate Code
This month we want to bring to all users of Belgian Chocolate, news of the ‘Belgian Chocolate Code'.
This has been drawn up and now agreed amongst members of CHOPRABISCO to protect the description of Belgian Products (specifically Chocolate) and avoid consumers being misled about the quality and origin of products.
Choprabisco are the The Royal Belgian Association of the Biscuit, Chocolate, Pralines and Confectionery businesses - see www.choprabisco.be/engels/choprabisco_frameset.htm
This document basically establishes guidelines for protection and a ‘line in the sand' to enable legal action to be instigated against companies who mislead consumers through labeling claims. This is similar to the Swiss Code which was first published in 1970.
Misleading the consumer as to the origin of a foodstuff is forbidden according to art 2 1. a) i) of the EU Labeling directive 2000/13. In a nutshell, the argument is that if the sales denomination “Belgian Chocolates” is used for chocolates which are not produced in Belgium, this can be confusing - even when Belgian chocolate has been used to make the chocolates - as the consumer might think that the chocolates were actually made in Belgium.
Recent provenance cases have resulted in the protection of Champagne, Stilton and many others and this paper can be seen to maybe be a pre-cursor to some high profile cases which will result in protection of the Belgian Industry.
Basically the upshot is that from 1st September 2008, when using Belgian Chocolate on or in products made outside Belgium, you must not use terms such as ‘Belgian Chocolates' or ‘Belgian Biscuits', but can use ‘Made with Belgian Chocolate' or ‘Biscuits with Chocolate from Belgium'. Obviously the Belgian claim can only be used when 100% Belgian Chocolate is used in the recipe.
If you have any questions about this please e-mail "The Chocolate Doctor".
Click on this link to see the document in full.
1st August 2008