Sales of British confectionery such as Mars bars, Kit Kats and Cadbury's milk chocolate cannot be restricted in eight European markets for the first time since the UK joined the European Union.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Spain and Italy’s restriction on the sales of British-made chocolate because it contains up to 5% vegetable fat instead of pure cocoa butter is illegal.

The row has been rumbling on for 30 years with the two countries arguing that chocolate imported
from the UK be labelled “chocolate substitute”.

British firms rejected calls to label their chocolate "household milk chocolate" or even "vegelate" to appease Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Germany, Greece and Holland.

Then in March 2000 a deal was struck whereby British milk chocolate containing up to 20% milk could be exported to all EU countries if labelled as “family milk chocolate”.

While British chocolate with up to 5% vegetable fat could be exported to all EU countries as long as the fat was listed in the ingredients.

The rules come into force in June.