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Brandy Butter

April 12th, 1998

The European, 6-12 April 1998, p13
Brandy butter is to be renamed ‘brandy spreadable fat’. According to an amendment to EC regulation 577/97/EC to take effect from September, a sliding scale of labelling requirements will be required permitting the use of the term butter for products which are at least one third dairy fat.

Accurate labelling is required to ensure that dairy products marketed throughout the EU inform customers and protect the interests of producers in order that butter substitutes or margarine, for example, cannot be passed off as butter. Account has to be taken of traditional products such as brandy butter. Normally, for these products to be called “butter” they should contain 75 per cent milk fat. However, products like brandy butter cannot be made with this percentage of milk fat.
A 1997 regulation sets out the products that can be exempted from this norm. It defined ‘Brandy Butter’, in addition to ‘Sherry Butter’, or ‘Rum butter’, as a sweetened, alcoholic product with a minimum fat content of 34 per cent. It later emerged that some UK producers were planning to produce butters with other alcohols so an amendment was made by Regulation in March 1998 to broaden the definition to all alcoholic butters with the 34 per cent minimum. An amended regulation of 1999, making special note to traditional UK produce, reduces to 20 per cent the amount of milk fat required. British consumers can be sure that brandy butter really is what it says on the packet, and not a cheap substitute.

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