A Labelling directive to be proposed shortly by the European Commission could compel the wine and spirits industry to list all allergens on bottles, following an opinion from EU food scientists that they could cause possibly fatal allergic reactions.

At present allergens only have to be listed when they are part of compound ingredients that comprise 25% or more of the product.

In particular, said EU consumer affairs Commissioner David Byrne recently, it would be necessary to label alcoholic beverages that contain sulphites at concentrations of at least 10 mg/kg.

Commenting Gillian Charlesworth, executive secretary of the Wine and Spirit Association of the UK said: "Trying to label wine as if it were a food is fraught with difficulties."

She told just-drinks.com: "All kinds of substances used in making wine or present at the beginning do not end up in the bottle after ageing."