Key facts of the case:
- This reference for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 2(2)(5) and the first subparagraph of Article 4(3) 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 (OJ 2006 L 404, p. 9), as last amended by Commission Regulation (EU) No 116/2010 of 9 February 2010 (OJ 2010 L 37, p. 16; ‘Regulation No 1924/2006’). The reference also concerns the validity of those provisions in the light of Articles 15(1) and 16 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’).
- The reference has been made in proceedings between Deutsches Weintor eG (‘Deutsches Weintor’), a German wine growers’ cooperative, and the department responsible for supervising the marketing of alcoholic beverages in the Land of Rhineland-Palatinate concerning the description of a wine as ‘easily digestible’ (‘bekömmlich’), indicating reduced acidity levels.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
- The first subparagraph of Article 4(3) 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 last amended by Commission Regulation (EU) No 116/2010 of 9 February 2010, must be interpreted as meaning that the words ‘health claim’ cover a description such as ‘easily digestible’ that is accompanied by a reference to the reduced content of substances frequently perceived by consumers as being harmful.
- The fact that a producer or distributor of wine is prohibited under Regulation No 1924/2006, as amended by Regulation No 116/2010, without exception, from using a claim of the kind at issue in the main proceedings, even if that claim is inherently correct, is compatible with the first subparagraph of Article 6(1) TEU.