Labelling cocoa and chocolate products

The law relating to the labelling of cocoa and chocolate products is governed by the Cocoa and Chocolate Products (England) Regulations 2003.

The Regulations apply to cocoa and chocolate products, intended for human consumption that are sold to consumers and catering establishments.

Reserved descriptions

The following descriptions of products are referred to as “reserved descriptions”:

  • Cocoa butter;
  • Cocoa powder and cocoa;
  • Fat-reduced cocoa and fat-reduced cocoa powder;
  • Powdered chocolate and chocolate in powder;
  • Drinking chocolate, sweetened cocoa and sweetened cocoa powder;
  • Fat-reduced drinking chocolate, fat-reduced sweetened cocoa and fat-reduced sweetened cocoa powder;
  • Chocolate (including chocolate supplemented by vermicelli, flakes, couverture, gianduja and gianduja derivatives);
  • Milk chocolate (including milk chocolate supplemented by vermicelli, flakes, couverture, gianduja, gianduja derivatives and chocolate where the milk is replaced by cream or skimmed milk);
  • Family milk chocolate or milk chocolate;
  • White chocolate;
  • Filled chocolate, chocolate with … filling and chocolate with … centre;
  • Chocolate a la taza;
  • Chocolate familiar a la taza;
  • A chocolate and A praline.

The Regulations set out detailed criteria which must be met before a product can be described using one of these reserved descriptions.

The Regulations prohibit the sale of food with a label which bears, comprises or includes a reserved description unless:

  • the product corresponds with the reserved description for that product in question;
  • the description, derivative or word used is used in a context which indicates that it relates only to an ingredient of the food in question; or
  • the description, derivative or word is used in a context whereby and it cannot be confused with one of the reserved descriptions.

Labelling

When cocoa and chocolate products are sold they must be marked or labelled. The mark or label must contain the reserved description of the product.

Chocolate products containing vegetable fats other than cocoa butter must be conspicuously, clearly and legibly labelled “contains vegetable fats in addition to cocoa butter”. Such wording must be in the same field of vision as the list of ingredients, clearly separated from the list of ingredients, in bold lettering no less large than that of the list of ingredients and located near the reserved description.

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For more information on:

  • Use of vegetable fats in chocolate products
  • Failure to comply with the Regulations