The drinks industry arm of the EU's Joint Research Centre (JRC) is developing classifications for fruit juice products and their fruit or sugar content.

BEVABS, or the European Office for Wine, Alcohol and Spirit Drinks, wants to help customs officers and consumer protection teams identify fraudulent labelling for fruit juice products, and help manufacturers conduct their own quality controls.

The move builds on BEVAB's development of a wine isotope database that pinpoints fraudulent counterfeit wine products - currently being updated for 2005 vintages.

BEVABS is also developing such microbiological tests for spirits. JRC researchers Fabiano Reniero and Claude Guillou said: "Is this rum truly made from cane? Is this fruit juice freshly squeezed or made by dilution of concentrated juice? Is this wine really from the region declared on the label? These questions are frequently asked both by consumers and by operators of the industry of drinks."

The researchers added that BEVABS' studies "evaluate new analytical tools capable to provide answers to such demands". *