Purists in the Italian parliament have refused to transpose the European directive which seeks to authorise up to five percent vegetable fat content other than cocoa butter in the world’s favourite confectionary, chocolate. MPs of the right and left agreed on this, determined to keep their national rules in place, in spite of a European Court of Justice ruling in 2003, which called Rome to order for violating the communal code.
The directive says alternatives such as palm oil and shear butter should be allowed, and so Rome is running a risk of fines. Other important chocolate-producers have resisted the directive, including France, Belgium and Spain. More than 200,000 tonnes of chocolate and cocoa-based products are made in Italy every year.