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EU welcomes new spirits regulation

Published:  23 July, 2008

New regulations which set out clear definitions for all spirit drinks have been agreed on by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.

The European Commission welcomed the new legislation, which combines two previous regulations into one and adapts the rules to take account of technical changes, WTO requirements and the EU geographical indications system.

It aims to help producers market their products while delivering greater clarity for consumers.

Mariann Fischer Boel, the commissioner for agriculture and rural development, was pleased with the progress.

She said: "To reach agreement between Council, Parliament and Commission in the first reading is a major achievement."

The definition of vodka has been one of the major discussion points since proposals were tabled by the Commission in December 2005.

The legislation ensures that in the future vodka made from cereals or potatoes will be labelled as just vodka while vodka made from other raw materials will have to carry a "produced from" label followed by the raw material used.

"I am pleased that we were able to reach a pragmatic compromise on the definition of vodka, which will allow producers of this important product to continue going about their business." Fischer Boel concluded.