Language of document :

Judgment of the Court (Third Chamber) of 6 September 2012 (reference for a preliminary ruling from the Bundesverwaltungsgericht - Germany) - Deutsches Weintor eG v Land Rheinland-Pfalz

(Case C-544/10) 

(Reference for a preliminary ruling - Approximation of laws - Public health - Consumer information and protection - Labelling and presentation of foodstuffs - Concepts of 'nutrition claims' and 'health claims' - Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 - Description of a wine as 'easily digestible' - Reference to reduced acidity levels - Beverages containing more than 1.2% by volume of alcohol - Prohibition of health claims - Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union - Article 15(1) - Freedom to choose an occupation - Article 16 - Freedom to conduct a business - Compatibility)

Language of the case: German

Referring court

Bundesverwaltungsgericht

Parties to the main proceedings

Applicant: Deutsches Weintor eG

Defendant: Land Rheinland-Pfalz

Re:

Reference for a preliminary ruling - Bundesverwaltungsgericht - Interpretation of the first subparagraph of Article 6(1) TEU in conjunction with Articles 15(1) and 16 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and of Article 4(3) in conjunction with Articles 2(2)(5) or 10(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 amended by Commission Regulation (EU) No 116/2010 of 9 February 2010 (OJ 2010 L 37, p. 16) - Description of a wine as easily digestible with a reference to reduced acidity - Prohibition of health claims made in relation to beverages containing more than 1.2% by volume of alcohol - Meaning of 'health claims'

Operative part of the judgment

1.    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.

2.    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.

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1 - OJ C 72, 5.3.2011.