Slovak Rum Gets Temporary Exemption from Cancer-related Ban in EU

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(stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, April 21 (TASR) – Slovakia and the Czech Republic have been given a five-year transitory period for using the recipe of a local sugar-beet rum, called since the two countries’ accession to the European Union in 2004 as ‘tuzemak’ or ‘tuzemsky um’, after the EU recently banned the use of some of its ingredients allegedly linked to cancer.


“Although this has dominantly been a problem for producers in the Czech Republic, it also concerns Slovakia,” head of the European Commission’s Representation Office in Slovakia Ladislav Miko told TASR.

“There was a joint effort to find a balance between health protection and preservation of the production of traditional products, so this permit only concerns traditionally produced spirits in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, with restricted use for five years, before appropriate alternatives are developed. It’s also been considered that spirits don’t belong among foodstuffs with high consumption levels in line with the principles of healthy nutrition, while they aren’t consumed by pregnant women and children, either,” said Slovakia’s chief hygienist Jan Mikas.

At the same time he discouraged from the use of the local rum in domestic pastry, despite its traditional popularity.

According to the EU’s regulations, only sugar-cane derived spirits can be called ‘rum’, hence the renaming of the Slovak and Czech ‘tuzemsky rum’ [local rum] since 2004 to ‘tuzemsky um’ [local wit] or ‘tuzemak’ [a slang contraction used also earlier for tuzemsky rum].