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CJEU - C-157/14 / Judgment

Neptune Distribution v Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance

Policy area:
Consumers
Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Fourth Chamber
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
17/12/2015

Key facts of the case:

Request for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU from the Conseil d’État (Council of State, France), made by decision of 26 March 2014, received at the Court on 4 April 2014, in the proceedings Neptune Distribution SNC v Ministre de l’Économie et des Finances (Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance).

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 — Directive 2009/54/EC — Articles 11(1) and 16 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Consumer protection — Nutrition and health claims — Natural mineral waters — Sodium/salt content — Calculation — Sodium chloride (table salt) or total amount of sodium — Freedom of expression and information — Freedom to conduct a business.

Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:

...the Court (Fourth Chamber) hereby rules:

1. Article 8(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods, as amended by Regulation (EC) No 107/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008, read in conjunction with the annex thereto, must be interpreted as meaning that it prohibits the use of the claim ‘very low in sodium/salt’ and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer as regards natural mineral waters and other waters.

Article 9(2) of Directive 2009/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters, read in conjunction with Annex III thereto, must be interpreted as meaning that it precludes packaging, labels or advertising for natural mineral waters from displaying claims or indications suggesting to the consumer that the waters concerned are low in sodium or salt or are suitable for a low-sodium diet where the total sodium content, in all the chemical forms present, is equal to or more than 20 mg/l.

2. The examination of the second question has not revealed any information capable of affecting the validity of Article 9(1) and (2) of Directive 2009/54, read in conjunction with Annex III thereto and with the annex to Regulation No 1924/2006.