Better labels for imported chocolates

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Ruling in Ferrero Spa & Anr v Shri Maa Distribution (India) Pvt Ltd & Anr, Delhi High Court has directed that all chocolates imported into India must contain details of all the ingredients used in the product.

The court was hearing a trademark infringement suit filed by Ferrero Spa (makers of Ferrero Rocher chocolates) against a distributor of the Cherir brand of chocolates. It had passed an ex parte order restraining the distributor from marketing its products Cherier and Ginnou as it had prima facie infringed Ferrero’s trademarks. As a result consignments imported by the distributor had been locked up. While granting the ex parte order, the court relied on a notification of 24 June issued under the Customs Act prohibiting import of milk-based confectionery items.

Chocolate_trufflesHowever, Cherir argued that their products did not contain milk products and as part of their defence produced a report from the government’s Central Food Laboratory. While this report said the chocolate conformed to standards, it showed that the packaging did not contain the importer’s address as required under rule 32 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules.

As the tests proved that the product had no milk, the court granted relief to Cherir, so that the consignment could be sold, provided Cherir furnish a bank guarantee of ₹600,000 (US$13,000) and detailed accounts of its sale within two months.

The court then directed the concerned authorities to take appropriate steps to ensure that imported chocolates clearly mentioned their ingredients and the names of the manufacturer and importer with their addresses. This is in order to prevent any harm to the health and well being of the general public.

The update of court judgments is compiled by Bhasin & Co, Advocates, a corporate law firm based in New Delhi. The authors can be contacted at [email protected] Readers should not act on the basis of this information without seeking professional legal advice.