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Foreign fats in chocolate

The 'Chocolate Directive' allows the addition of up to 5 % of vegetable fats other than cocoa butter, the so-called cocoa butter equivalents (CBEs), in chocolate. If CBEs are added, consumers have to be informed by appropriate

The so-called Chocolate Directive (Directive 2000/36/EC) allows the addition of up to 5% of vegetable fats other than cocoa butter, the so-called cocoa butter equivalents (CBEs), in chocolate. If CBEs are added, consumers have to be informed by appropriate labelling. EU Member States' laws, regulations and administrative provisions have had to comply with the Chocolate Directive since August 2003.

Assessing compliance of chocolate products with the labelling provisions cannot be done without appropriate methods of analysis. The chemical composition and physical properties of the CBEs resemble those of cocoa butter very closely, making them extremely difficult to quantify and in some cases even difficult to detect. The JRC has developed a reliable analytical approach to detect and quantify CBEs in dark and milk chocolate. The methods have been validated in international trials and reported in three reports:

Validation of a method for the detection of cocoa butter equivalents in cocoa butter and plain chocolate EUR 20685 EN.pdf
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Validation of a method for the quantification of cocoa butter equivalents in cocoa butter and plain chocolate EUR 20777 EN.pdf
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(181.53 KB - PDF)
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Validation of an analytical approach to determine cocoa butter equivalents in milk chocolate EUR 22553 EN.pdf
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(1.15 MB - PDF)
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To facilitate deployment of this approach for the analytical chemist, two toolboxes named CoCal-1 and CoCal-2 have been established by the JRC. The toolboxes are built on scientific research and enable the enforcement of Directive 2000/36/EC.

The JRC also carried out a survey on the correct labelling of foreign fats in dark and milk chocolate samples acquired from the European market using CoCal-1 and CoCal-2.

CoCal-1 for dark chocolate

  • a standardised database with compositional information on cocoa butters, CBEs and more than 4000 mixtures thereof,
  • a description of a validated method for the detection of CBEs in dark chocolate,
  • a description of a validated method for the quantification of CBEs in dark chocolate ,
  • a certified cocoa butter reference material (currently sold out; new batch under production) to calibrate the analyst’s instruments, and
  • an electronic evaluation sheet to calculate the final result

CoCal-2 for milk chocolate

  • a standardised database covering compositional information on a wide range of authentic milk fat samples, and more than 900 mixtures thereof with other chocolate fats,
  • a description of a validated method for the detection and quantification of milk fat and CBEs in milk chocolate,
  • a certified cocoa butter reference material (currently sold out; new batch under production), and
  • an electronic evaluation sheet to calculate the final result.

International Standards

ISO 11053 regarding Vegetable fats and oils - Determination of Cocoa Butter Equivalents in milk chocolate, 2009

ISO 23275-1. Animal and vegetable fats and oils - Cocoa butter equivalents in cocoa butter and plain chocolate - Part 1: Determination of the presence of cocoa butter equivalents, 2006

ISO 23275-2. Animal and vegetable fats and oils - Cocoa butter equivalents in cocoa butter and plain chocolate - Part 2: Quantification of cocoa butter equivalents, 2006

AOCS Official Method Ce 11a-07. Cocoa Butter Equivalents in Milk Chocolate by GC, 2007

AOCS Official Method Ce 11-05. Determination of Cocoa Butter Equivalents in Cocoa Butter and Plain Chocolate, 2005

More information:

ISO standards

AOCS methods