Bulgarian Supreme Court Revokes Ordinance on Dairy, Imitation Products

Business | April 2, 2013, Tuesday // 17:04|  views

Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgaria's Supreme Administrative Court (VAS), acting as a first-instance court, has revoked an ordinance of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food banning dairy farms from using nondairy components like vegetable fat more than twice a year.

The ordinance banned the simultaneous production of dairy products and the so-called imitation products containing vegetable fat at one dairy farm.

Dairy producers were told to either set up separate dairy farms for the two types of products or to switch between dairy products and imitation products every six months, following a notification to the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency.

The ordinance was challenged in court by Dairy Products Trakia EOOD, Bulgaria's National Association of Dairy Processors, and Kodap EOOD.

The companies, as cited by dnevnik.bg, objected that the ordinance had not been notified to the European Commission, that it placed them on an unequal footing with dairy processors from other EU countries, and that it contradicted EU principles such as the free movement of goods, free market initiative, etc.

"The ordinance only applies to products made or distributed on the territory of Bulgaria but we operate in the conditions of a single market. This means that Bulgarian companies are being discriminated against" said Dilyana Slavova, Chair of the National Association of Dairy Processors.

Slavova commented that the Association demanded nothing more than the strict implementation of EU regulations and directives.

The ordinance was to enter into force on January 1, 2013.

A three-judge panel of VAS revoked the ordinance in its entirety on Tuesday.

The decision can be appealed before a five-judge panel of VAS within two weeks.

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Tags: dairy products, Supreme Administrative Court, VAS, Ministry of Agriculture and Foods


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