The European Court of Justice has found Italy and Spain guilty of breaching EU trade laws by restricting sales of British chocolate.

Both countries insisted that chocolate imported from the UK be labelled “chocolate substitute”. Much chocolate manufactured in Britain contains up to 5% vegetable fat, which many chocolate producers in other countries look upon with horror. Many would prefer to see only product with 100% cocoa butter marketed as chocolate.

However, EU member states agreed in 2000 that product with up to 5% vegetable fat could be marketed as chocolate, as long as this is indicated on the ingredients label.

Nevertheless, Italy and Spain refused to step into line, so the European Commission took them to court. The judges at the Court of Justice said that British chocolate is entitled to free access to all EU markets, adding: “The addition of those fats does not alter the nature of the product, and an indication in the label would inform consumers of their presence.”