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Cocoa and chocolate

The European Union (EU) defines a number of specific common rules for cocoa and chocolate products which complement the legislation applicable to foodstuffs. These rules concern composition, sales names, labelling and presentation.


Directive 2000/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 June 2000 relating to cocoa and chocolate products intended for human consumption [See amending act(s)].


This Directive harmonises the labelling of cocoa and chocolate products, and establishes definitions for these products in order to enable consumers to make informed choices. It applies without prejudice to the general provisions relating to the labelling of foodstuffs.

Products concerned

This Directive applies to cocoa and chocolate products intended for human consumption as specified in Annex I to the Directive.


This Directive adopts the composition of cocoa and chocolate products. In particular, for certain products it determines the minimum percentage of cocoa butter which can be used. It also determines the possibility to use a quantity of vegetable fats which does not exceed 5 % of the end product. The vegetables fats (other than cocoa butter) which can be used are listed in Annex II to the Directive.


Only products manufactured according to the compositional rules laid down by this Directive may be marketed under one of the following names (see Annex I to the Directive):

  • cocoa butter;
  • cocoa powder, cocoa;
  • fat-reduced cocoa powder, fat-reduced cocoa;
  • powdered chocolate;
  • powdered drinking chocolate, sweetened cocoa, sweetened cocoa powder (possibly supplemented by the term "fat-reduced");
  • chocolate (possibly supplemented by the terms "vermicelli" or "flakes", "couverture", and "gianduja");
  • milk, cream or skimmed milk chocolate (possibly supplemented by the terms "vermicelli" or "flakes", "couverture" and "gianduja");
  • family milk chocolate;
  • white chocolate;
  • filled chocolate;
  • chocolate a la taza;
  • chocolate familiar a la taza;
  • chocolates or pralines.

The labelling of cocoa and chocolate products may include additional information. For example, the labelling of chocolate products containing vegetable fats other than cocoa butter must bear the statement "contains vegetable fat in addition to cocoa butter" in the same field of vision as the list of ingredients, clearly separated from that list. The labelling of powdered chocolate, of sweetened cocoas, as well as of chocolate, milk chocolate, family milk chocolate, chocolate a la taza and chocolate familiar a la taza must indicate the total dry cocoa solids content. In addition, the labelling of non-fat and reduced-fat cocoas and powdered chocolate must indicate the cocoa butter content.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for implementation in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 2000/36/EC



OJ L 197 of 3.8.2000

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for implementation in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008



OJ L 311 of 21.11.2000

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2000/36/EC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is for reference only.

Last updated: 06.10.2011
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