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ECJ case C-331/19 (Staatssecretaris van Financiën vs X) – Questions – Definition of term ‘foodstuffs for human consumption’

The European Court of Justice received preliminary questions in case C-331/19, regarding the definition of ‘foodstuffs for human consumption’

The question is raised in a case where a business sells certain products as sexual stimulants. Those are capsules, drops, powders and sprays that are intended to be taken orally. The company applied the reduced VAT rate to the sales of these products, treating them as ‘foodstuffs’.

The tax authorities take the view that the products were not foodstuffs and were therefore subject to the general VAT rate.

The questions raise are as follows:

Must the term ‘foodstuffs for human consumption’ be interpreted as covering any substance or product, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, intended to be, or reasonably expected to be ingested by humans?

If this question is answered in the negative, how must that term then be defined?

If edible or potable products cannot be regarded as foodstuffs for human consumption, on the basis of which criteria must it then be assessed whether such products can be regarded as products normally used to supplement foodstuffs or as a substitute for foodstuffs?

Source Curia – Application

Curia – Request for a preliminary ruling