The EU administration in Brussels has far-reaching powers, and it makes ample use of them, a reality which has often led to accusations of regulatory frenzy. Under Brussels regulations, the EU Center of Power sometimes came close to Schilda. The 1988 Cucumber Bending Regulation, which provided interested political circles and cabaret with material for years, should be remembered. Though abolished again, it has gone down in history as a synonym for the EU’s regulatory madness.
And now it’s time for the egg liqueur. The traditional drink has also fallen victim to regulatory frenzy in Brussels. The Supreme Court has ruled that egg liqueur must not contain dairy products. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided this in October. Confectioners should be anything but pleased with this ruling. Egg liqueur mixed with cream in cakes, tarts and chocolates is popular among the consumers. They taste particularly good and have a more pleasant consistency. For product developers, the law means a further restriction of their possibilities. Personal preparation, the opportunity of a product of incomparable quality, which is only available from one particular manufacturer, a secret recipe – perhaps guarded and cultivated over generations, for which other paths may be followed – everything is cut off.
Under the EU judges’ decision, egg liqueurs may only be labelled as such if they only contain protein, egg yolk, sugar or honey, and any flavoring substances in addition to alcohol. The background to this decision is a dispute between two liqueur producers. One of them had used milk, which the other did not want to accept. At first, the Regional Court of Hamburg dealt with the case, but later submitted it to the European Court of Justice with the question of whether the list of constituents of an alcoholic beverage in the corresponding EU regulation was exhaustive. The European Court of Justice has confirmed this: egg liqueur may only be called as such if it “does not contain any ingredients other than those mentioned in the regulation.” The Court justified its ruling with a view to “fair competition” and the preservation of the good reputation of European alcohol.
A company near Magdeburg wants to stay true to its family recipe for the egg liqueur. What is needed now are ways to change the presentation of the product and the name. Without loss of turnover. For the company, however, it is certain that the recipe will not be shaken. Perhaps the amendment already tabled by the spirits association will at some point make it possible again for the desired taste to be decided on the list of ingredients.