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European Parliament Rules On Vodka

Russian vodka at German food fair in 2006 (AFP) June 19, 2007 -- The European Parliament has backed a definition of vodka that purists fear will water down their favorite spirit.

EU lawmakers decided that while vodka is a spirit made from grains and potatoes, it can also be made from other ingredients such as apples, raisins, and sugarbeets as long as the labels properly indicate the contents.

Parliamentarians from traditional vodka-producing countries such as Finland, Poland or Sweden, had pushed for stronger rules that would have included molasses among the ingredients allowed but banned vodkas made from anything else from using that name.

But countries that use sugarbeet and grapes in their vodka, such as Britain, France, Italy, and Spain, have opposed that definition.

(compiled from agency reports)