The European Court of Justice has ruled that a ‘Markenqualität aus deutschen Landen’ (quality label for produce made in Germany) scheme breaks European Union (EU) freedom of trade rules by excluding products made outside of the country.

The label is awarded by the Centrale Marketing-Gesellschaft der deutschen Agrarwirtschaft mbH (CMA), with the help of independent laboratories that test whether a product satisfies the scheme’s quality requirements.

Because the CMA reserves the use of its label “for products made in Germany, whether they are made from raw materials produced in Germany or imported,” the court has backed the European Commission in ruling that the scheme breaks Berlin’s EU free trade treaty commitments. Costs were awarded against the German government.