Fruits and vegetables can now be classified as ‘fruit’ and ‘fruit stripe gum’, according to a new Irish government guidance.
Gum is a type of gum produced from the root of a species of shrub (Sambucus alba) and used in traditional medicine and traditional foods for centuries.
The gum is considered a natural remedy and can be added to foods such as bread and baked goods.
But according to the new Irish guidance, these products no longer qualify as ‘gumm’, and therefore should not be labelled as such.
It is understood that this is the first time the Government has taken this approach in the UK, where sugar and sugar products are categorised as ‘wholesale’.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said the guidance will now be reviewed and a final decision made as soon as possible.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said the Government had not been able to obtain the necessary guidance to make this change, which is the subject of a parliamentary inquiry.
A spokesperson said: “In relation to our products, we can categorise our products as either sugar or fruit gum.
We do not categorise any other product as fruit or sugar, including baked goods, soft drinks and chocolate.”
If we are unable to obtain a definitive answer to the question of whether or not sugar is or is not a food ingredient, we will continue to use the classification system that we have used for a number of years.
“We have been in discussions with the relevant authorities in Ireland to identify and develop new guidance that can provide clarification on this issue.”
A spokesperson from the Food Standards Agency said:”We are aware of the proposed change to the classification of sugar products in Ireland.
Our advice to sugar producers is that they must apply the current classification as the sugar is a product of a sugarcane plantation.”