Irn Bru saved for the nation

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by a Newsnet reporter

A potential threat to Scotland’s favourite non-alcoholic tipple has been averted after the European Union backed down on a proposal to reduce the maximum permitted level of the colourant Sunset Yellow, which gives Irn Bru its distinctive colour.  Under the proposals the maximum amount of the artificial food dye would have been reduced to 10 mg per litre, half the level found in Barr’s Irn Bru.

Fears were raised that the reduced level would result in a peelie-wally looking drink.  Some even wondered whether it would still be effective as a hangover cure.

The European Commission’s standing committee had originally proposed to reduce the maximum permitted level of the colourant from 50 mg per litre to 10 mg per litre.  However the committee has now agreed that the new maximum will be 20 mg per litre, the same concentration used in Irn Bru to give it its distinctive golden colour.  

SNP MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth where Irn Bru is made,  Jamie Hepburn said: “This is fantastic news for those at Barr’s and everyone who loves a glass of our other National drink.

“It would have been sacrilege to force a change in this historic, and much loved recipe. Had the proposals came to pass then we would be faced with a peelie-wally Irn Bru.  Scotland wouldn’t be the same.

“I’m sure Commissioner Dalli and the EU commission meant well but the fact of the matter is, both the European and UK food standard authorities have deemed the level completely safe.

“This is a victory for all those involved in securing the continuation of this historic recipe and they should be congratulated in ensuring that the European Commission has seen sense.

“I hope the Commissioner has a bottle of Irn Bru in recognition of today’s sensible decision.”

First Minister Alex Salmond raised a glass to toast the news saying:  “Thank goodness this problem has been Irn-ed out.

“It is a victory for our other national drink.  I’m delighted that common sense has prevailed and that Europe’s decision protects this iconic Scottish brand.

“I congratulate all involved in securing this positive outcome.  Folk at home and abroad who love their Irn-Bru will be toasting this success with a glass of the stuff made from girders.”