A chocolate challenge

THE European Community's (EC) recent attempts to harmonise legislation on chocolates have kicked up a major controversy. The proposed EC directive would allow the incorporation of 5 per cent vegetable fat in chocolates.

Several members of the African, the Caribbean and Pacific Nations (ACP) - supported by France - in order to stall the EC's move, have geared up to reform a 1973 chocolate directive. The 31 ACP states, accounting for 65 per cent of the world's cocoa production and 85 per cent of the EC's cocoa imports, fear a loss of around US $390 million annually, should the directive be pushed through. "The replacement of cocoa butter by vegetable fats would be disastrous for many ACP economies, like that of the Ivory Coast. which depends for more than 35 per cent of its foreign exchange on cocoa," points out Anet N'Zi Nanan Koliabo, the Ivory Coast ambassador to the EC.

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