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PR(00)07: The EFTA Surveillance Authority brings Norway before the EFTA court for prohibiting the import and marketing of fortified corn flakes

16.9.2002

The EFTA Surveillance Authority has found that the prohibition in Norway on the import and marketing of fortified corn flakes is an unjustified barrier to trade within the European Economic Area which is contrary to Article 11 of the EEA Agreement. The Authority has decided to bring the matter before the EFTA Court.

The product in question has been legally produced in the EEA. Norway has refused to permit its marketing, as the product is fortified with thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and iron. The Norwegian authorities have taken the view that the fortification is a risk to public health.

In the Surveillance Authority’s opinion Norway has not been able to substantiate that the fortification of the product in question constitutes such a threat to public health that a prohibition is justified under Article 13 EEA.

By a Letter of Formal Notice of 29 January 1999, the Norwegian Government was given the opportunity to submit observations on the alleged breach.  As in the Authority’s opinion Norway had not presented any proof of the harmfulness of the fortification of the product, a Reasoned Opinion was issued on 8 October 1999. Norway did not comply with the Reasoned Opinion within the time limit laid down by the Authority nor did it submit any additional information which in the Authority’s opinion might allow for the conclusion that the prohibition could be justified under Article 13 EEA.

In the Authority’s opinion, Norway has thus failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 11 of the EEA Agreement and the Authority has decided to refer the matter to the EFTA Court.

For further information, please contact Mr. Peter Dyrberg, Director of the Legal and Executive Affairs Department, telephone (+32) 2 286 18 30. 

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