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// Nothing added but time ... sugar, chemicals and sulphites
We all know the advert for Bulmers cider, "nothing added but time", but it appears that in fact, there is more added to the drink than time and apples.
Information obtained by the Sunday Independent this week reveals that despite the claims of the embattled company, the "Irish'' cider is full of apples from at least five other countries across Europe, added sugar, and a host of chemicals added in the post-fermentation process
Away from the advert's cosy image of apples picked in a Clonmel orchard, and crushed naturally into the bottles which we gulp down in hot summer evenings, the truth is a bit more complex and complicated.
Dispelling the myth that Bulmers is truly an Irish cider, a spokeswoman for Bulmers confirmed that apples are sourced from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Britain, and several countries in mainland Europe.
In total, 17 blends of apples are used in the making of Bulmers cider, which has been based in Clonmel since 1930 and employs 550 people.
The company also confirmed that a number of significant changes are made to the cider after it has matured for a period of between six months and two years. Residual yeast is removed to avoid spoilage of the product.
Crucially, given the wide variety of apples used, a number of elements including sugar and chemicals are added to the product to ensure consistency in sweetness and colour. Further elements are added to regulate acidity, which is again caused by the variety of apples used.
The spokeswoman said: "As stated, in order to ensure consistency of product, we make some post-fermentation adjustments to Bulmers sweetness, colour and acidity. As you can appreciate however, the detail of the recipe is confidential."
It has also been confirmed to the Sunday Independent that some sulphites are added to extend the shelf life of the cider. Specifically, the sulphites serve as anti-oxidants and anti-microbial agents, to prevent harmful bacteria affecting quality.
The Consumer Association of Ireland has said that given the amount of additions to the cider during its production, it is misleading to use such branding slogans which state that no such additions are made. It has called for the company not to be disingenuous to its customers.
Dermot Jewell of the CAI told the Sunday Independent: "Well, they are making a statement of fact which is not true, so yes it is misleading. There are moves coming now from Europe to ensure that such misleading statements, which are seen throughout food and drink ads, are made illegal."
- DANIEL MCCONNELL
(c) Sunday Independent