A 27-year-old controversy over what could or could not be called 'chocolate' ended today, when the European Parliament adopted the Chocolate Directive. The new legislation will have the effect of allowing free access to all the countries of the EU for the type of chocolate made and consumed in Ireland.

For the past 20 years, the French and Belgian Chocolate industries have, with the support of their governments, fought to reserve the description chocolate for produce produced exclusively from cocoa butter. Chocolate produced in Ireland, as well as Britain, Denmark and Finland, typically contains up to 5% of vegetable oils other than cocoa butter.

Special arrangements made when Ireland joined the EU in 1973 ensured that the production of chocolate in Ireland could continue unaffected. However, this was agreed on the basis that Irish chocolate could not be exported to other EU countries. Since then, the export ban on Irish chocolate has remained in force.

Fine Gael MEP, Avril Doyle, said that she was delighted legislation has been adopted which will bring some reason back into the marketing of chocolate. She also said that she is pleased that we will be able to use the word chocolate in the description of milk chocolate.