European politicians have backed plans to tighten EU regulations surrounding Scotch whisky.

A committee of MEPs yesterday (30 January) supported proposals to ensure Scotch has stronger legal protection at EU level. A spokesman for the UK-based Scotch Whisky Association said the proposals would "tidy up" European regulations on Scotch dating back to 1989.

He said: "The 1989 regulations did not explicitly say that you cannot add flavours to whisky; the new regulations would make it explicit that would not be permitted."

The spokesman said the proposals would also require all EU member states to follow national regulations on the production of a spirit that enjoys the protection of a geographical indication.

He added: "There is a requirement for the UK to register its rules for Scotch whisky at EU level and there would be an obligation for all 27 member states to follow those rules."

The spokesman said a number of court judgements surrounding Scotch whisky in the last 18 years had brought the need for a tightening of EU legislation.