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Case C-443/98 Unilever v Central Food [2000]


  • Technical rules on the labelling of olive oil for sale were adopted by Italy
  • Approval had been sought under Directive 83/189/EC from the Commission, but a response had not yet been received
  • Unilever and Central Food made a sale contract for olive oil affected by the Italian measure
  • The product purchased did not comply with the new Italian rules


  • Could the contract be avoided on the basis of its national non-compliance?


  • No


  • Just as in CIA Security v Signalson [1996], an unapproved national technical measure will breach EU law, and the directive governing this validity and approval (Directive 83/189/EC) is directly effective horizontally (exceptionally so) and could be relied on between two private parties
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