Hangovers are an ‘illness,’ says German court

A firm had claimed to have an anti-hangover concoction. The court in Germany has ruled that food supplements cannot claim to treat sickness.

The Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt, Germany said in a ruling on Monday that hangovers are an “illness”. The decision comes in the wake of the famous Oktoberfest in Munich.

Oktoberfest is the german public holiday celebrated chiefly in the southern part of Germany where people gather from all over Germany and Europe. The festival is characterised by its beer-soaked revelry and celebrations in traditional peasant wear (leather pants and drindl).

The judgment came after plaintiffs claimed a company offering anti-hangover “shots” and powders was making unlawful claims about curing the after-effects of alcohol. The firm claimed that its product could alleviate symptoms of alcoholism and could prevent the emergence of a hangover.

The court ruled that since a Kater (hangover in German) is an illness, a food company can’t make claims to heal it.

The court defines illness as even small or temporary disruptions to the normal state or normal activity of the body, including tiredness, nausea, and headaches. The firm claimed its product could alleviate these symptoms.

Refusing the firm claim that its advertisement was covered under the protection granted to “nutrition and health claims” made in commercial communications under the EU Health Claim Regulation, the Higher Regional Court supported the decision rendered by the district court last year and said,

`Food and drinks cannot be promoted as being able to combat illnesses´. Information about a food product cannot ascribe any properties for preventing, treating or healing a human illness or give the impression of such a property,” the court’s statement said, according to Deutsche Welle, the German public broadcaster.

It added, “It is not relevant that the symptoms regularly disappear on their own and require no medical treatment.”


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