EU votes against vodka purity requirements

19th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

19 June 2007, Strasbourg (dpa) - Vodka producers in the European Union should be allowed to add ingredients to the grain and potatoes that make the high-alcohol drink, a new EU spirits regulation ruled Tuesday. However, producers would have to declare additional ingredients such as grapes or sugar beet on the product label, EU legislators in Strasbourg decided. Polish and Scandinavian legislators were up in arms against the measure because real vodka produced in their countries is made from potatoes and gr

19 June 2007

Strasbourg (dpa) - Vodka producers in the European Union should be allowed to add ingredients to the grain and potatoes that make the high-alcohol drink, a new EU spirits regulation ruled Tuesday.

However, producers would have to declare additional ingredients such as grapes or sugar beet on the product label, EU legislators in Strasbourg decided.

Polish and Scandinavian legislators were up in arms against the measure because real vodka produced in their countries is made from potatoes and grain only, following centuries-old traditions.

This historic manner of production should be respected, Polish Christian Democrat Boguslav Sonik said. After all, the EU had very strict rules on rum and wine, he added.

Other countries, such as Germany, France and Britain, produce vodka from sugar beet molasses, grapes, fruit mixtures, soy, whey or pomace.

"All varieties are considered as vodka. We have to do this for the sake of world trade alone. Anything else would be considered as discrimination, and the EU would have to face a WTO (World Trade Organization) appeal straight away," said rapporteur Horst Schnellhardt.

The United States, which produces vodka from cane sugar, has already threatened a WTO appeal should the EU regulation be too strict. Vodka turnover worldwide is estimated at 12 billion dollars.

In further directives, original recipes for traditional high- quality fruit liquors are due to be preserved, while aroma-enhancing additives will be banned.

"This will in particular protect smaller distilleries in Germany," Schnellhardt said.

The new regulations will also protect names derived from the products' geographical origin, such as Munsterland Korn schnapps and Frankish fruit schnapps.

The EU Council of Ministers is likely to approve the compromise, meaning the new regulation could come into force later this year.

DPA

 

Subject: German news

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