Food Law Corner

The CERHA HEMPEL Food Law Corner provides an insight into current legal developments and the latest case-law in the food and beverage industry. Our attorneys regularly advise clients on the regulatory requirements in connection with food information, health and nutrition claims, advertising & marketing, novel foods, the introduction of food supplements on the market and much more. We represent our clients in administrative proceedings, cases under the Unfair Competition Act, and trademark protection including PDO and PGI.

November 2019

DAC Regulation "Carnuntum"

The Law on Wine (Weingesetz) provides various designations depending on the origin of the grapes. "Regional wines" must originate from a single wine-growing region (Weinland, Bergland, Steierland), whereas "quality wines" need to be grown in one of 17 wine-growing areas.

No EFSA-objections to cacao pulp

Novel foods may only be placed on the market if they are authorised by the European Commission and registered in a Union list. A special notification procedure applies to such foods that have a history of safe food use in a third country ("traditional food from a third country").

The principle of Freedom to copy: the Unfair Competition Act provides no protection for the form and packaging of "MAGNUM DOUBLE" ice cream

The plaintiff sells and distributes "MAGNUM DOUBLE" ice creams on a stick. In the present case, the plaintiff filed a complaint to object to the fact that the defendant had adopted the oval form of the original ice cream product, which is characterised by three layers in total, namely (i) a layer of icing containing cocoa, (ii) a soft layer with a filling in a variety of flavours, and (iii) a layer of chocolate. The plaintiff also wished to prohibit the defendant from offering its product under the name "Gelatelli DOUBLE" or "DOUBLE" by using a font and font colour likely to cause a likelihood of confusion with MAGNUM DOUBLE.

Red clover in germ flour qualifies as a novel food

Under the Novel Food Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2015/2283), "novel foods" require authorisation by the European Commission and inclusion in a Union list prior to their being placed on the market. A food is novel if – in simple terms – it falls into certain food categories and was not used for human consumption to a significant degree in the European Union prior to 15 May 1997.

Deceptive packaging: Cake packaging – with 40% to 50% less content than its appearance would suggest – is deemed to be deception if the oversized packaging is avoidable

The case focussed on the issue of the non-transparent outer packaging used for a chocolate cake. The packaging contained five pieces of cake, each individually wrapped in silver foil. Warm air becomes trapped within the packaging of the individual pieces of cake when they are sealed inside. This explains why they have a greater volume (approximately 10%) immediately after being sealed. "Removing the air" from the individual packages, which would result in there being enough space for a total of six pieces of cake, is not possible using packaging equipment manufactured from the 1990s. This would be possible if newer machines were used. The actual total weight of the packaged contents, amounting to 150g, was stated on one of the narrow sides of the outer packaging.