Wine-producing countries are opposed to detailed product information.
Liqueur may contain large amounts of gold or silver, used as a colouring, without any law restricting their use. Cider is unlikely to get its colour from berries or apples but from various chemicals or even plant lice. Most wines are unsuitable for vegans as components derived from fish, milk and eggs are commonly used to produce them.
Ingredients in beverages do not have to be listed in as much detail as for rye bread, with the EU regulations specifying that only information on substances causing hypersensitivity must be displayed on the label.
“People think that everyone knows what wines are made of. But ordinary consumers wouldn’t know what goes into them,” explains Anne Haikonen, legal expert at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Pekka Lehtonen, head of Alko’s laboratory, explains that around 60 to 80 additives can be used in wines.
Sweet beverages with low alcohol content, such as some wines, contain the largest number of added substances while vodka has the fewest, says Lehtonen, adding that it is not the additives, however, that make alcohol a health risk.
“It’s ironic that people keep banging on about additives when the harm they cause is minimal compared with the health risk posed by alcohol.”
ANNA LEPPÄVUORI – STT
LEHTIKUVA / MARKKU ULANDER
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