European Commission - Press release
Free movement of goods: Obstacles to the importation of "bake off" products in Greece - Greece referred to Court
Brussels 24 November 2011: The European Commission today decided to refer Greece to the EU's Court of Justice because it maintains obstacles to the importation of "bake off" products in Greece. National law requires minimum surface areas for the preparation of bakery products produced using the ‘bake‑off’ method. The ‘bake‑off’ method consists of quick thawing followed by re-heating or baking, at sales outlets, of fully or partially pre-baked and frozen products. Currently, Greek legislation requires minimum surface areas of at least 24.99m2 for the preparation of these products. The Commission considers that these requirements do not take into account the specific nature of such products and the inherent attractiveness to be ‘completed’ by a short final baking in very small premises. In May 2011 the Commission requested the Greek authorities to put an end to these restrictions but they are still in place (IP/11/609).
The Commission takes the view that the restrictions in question violate Article 34 TFEU and cannot be justified under ground of hygiene and safety considerations (Article 36). These national requirements entail additional unnecessary costs and obstacles, making the preparation and marketing of those products more difficult, creating obstacles to trade in violation of Article 34 TFEU.
The attention of the Greek authorities was drawn to the provisions of Regulation (EC) 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs, which are of direct application to the Member States and do not provide for minimum surface requirements.