Federal Supreme Court, Decision 2C_310/2021 from 29 November 2021

31. Dezember 2021 – The Court had to decide whether the clove capsules were rightly detained at customs by Swiss authorities (e.g. the Office for Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs of Basel-Landschaft and the Government Council of the Canton of Basel-Landschaft) or whether the capsules should be released. It was in particular disputed whether the product in question was labelled in accordance with the Ordinance on food supplements (OFS). The Court assessed in a first step whether the product in question constitutes a food supplement. It held that cloves in powder form are “other substances” within the meaning of art. 1 OFS, which makes the product imported by the appellant a food supplement due to the (single) concentrate of said “other substance” contained therein. It was undisputed that the product in question consisted of two product components (cloves in powder form and gelatine coating). Both components as well as the clove content were labelled and thus the “other substances” were correctly labelled. The indication of the percentages of the reference amounts required according to art. 3 para. 2 OFS only concerns vitamins and minerals, as Annex 10 Part A of the Ordinance of the Federal Department of Home Affairs on Food Information only regulates the reference amounts for adults for the daily intake of vitamins and minerals. However, there are no further labelling requirements for other substances, i.e. clove capsules.

Therefore, the Court upheld the appeal and the cloves had to be released.

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