HC Deb 24 April 1996 vol 276 c214W
Mr. Simon Coombs

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress the Commission has made in formulating proposals to amend the 1973 chocolate directive; and if he will make a statement. [27010]

Mrs. Browning

I understand the Commission has agreed proposals to amend the 1973 chocolate directive. These would allow all countries to authorise the addition of small amounts of vegetable fat, should they wish to do so, require the use of such fats to be separately labelled, allow the continued manufacture of a high milk formulation of milk chocolate in the UK and Ireland, but require designation of such chocolate as "household milk chocolate" when marketed in other member states.

The Government welcomes the emphasis given in these proposals to subsidiarity and coherence of the single market but are disappointed by the proposals for double labelling of vegetable fats and the continued pejorative description of some types of high quality milk chocolate. We shall seek changes in those parts of the proposal which seek to discriminate against British products, stifle innovation, limit consumer choice or impose undue regulatory burdens on industry.