AGRI-FOODS: CHOCOLATE DIRECTIVE RAPPORTEUR PREPARES FOR FINAL BATTLE.

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Paul Lannoye's draft report on the Draft Directive amending Directive 73/241 on the ingredients of chocolate and cocoa products is expected to be approved on second reading by the Environment Committee on February 24 and then voted on at the European Parliament's March 13-17 plenary session. The rapporteur hopes to remix the substance of the Parliament's amendments (which had been rejected on first reading) and add them to the Council's common position (see European Report No 2476).Clear labelling.In order to provide consumers with full information about chocolate products, the "chocolate tsar" wants products containing vegetable fats other than cocoa butter to be labelled "contains vegetable fats in addition to cocoa butter" with the label appearing on the front of the product, quite separate from the list of ingredients (the Council's document only calls for "the label (to) be visible when looking at the list of ingredients").Although the Council's common position allows for manufacturers who use nothing but cocoa butter in their products to specify this on the label, the rapporteur believes it would be easier to simply ask manufacturers who use other vegetable fats in chocolate to explain why on the label. "It's turning the logic on its head, he explained, using organic food to illustrate his point. Mr Lannoye indicated that it was outrageous that producers of organic food should "have to follow strict specifications and incur extra costs in order for the product to be labelled "organic" etc in order to prove that their products are natural, whilst industrial food manufacturers have no such obligations".Testing for vegetable fats.The rapporteur noted that the Council's common position on the...

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