German beer law put forward as world heritage

A group of German brewers, politicians and public figures have called for the country's 14th century beer purity law to be included on the UN's list of "intangible" world cultural treasures.

"This almost 500-year-old law is one of the oldest food and drink regulations in the world," the German institute for pure beer (DIRB) said after its annual meeting on Wednesday.

"It has been the best guarantee for consumers for a very long time of an absolutely pure, tasty and high quality product. Beer is and remains Germany's national drink."

Germany's cherished beer purity law dates back to 1516 and ensures that the country's brewers can only use malt, hops, yeast and water and no artificial additives such as flavourings or preservatives.

Germany however is not one of the 135 nations to have ratified the convention for UNESCO's Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, something which the DIRB said should change.

Items already listed by UNESCO include flamenco dancing in Spain, traditional carpet-weaving in Iran, the chant of the Sybil in Majorca, wrestling in oil in Turkey - and French food.