Page last updated: Nov 2021

European politicians urged to recognise the health benefits of moderate drinking

The Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV), which represents the wine trade in the European Union, have called for the European Parliament to “put robust science at the heart of policy making.”
The CEEV have asked why, when scientific studies show that moderate drinking is part of a healthy lifestyle, is the European Parliament sticking with a “flawed” study suggesting there is no ‘safe’ level of alcohol consumption?
In particular, the European wine association is urging European politicians to reconsider the statement that there is “no safe level of alcohol consumption”, which came from an EU report in the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA). This EU report was adopted by the European Parliament with 29 votes in favour, 1 against, and 4 abstentions.
The CEEV state that the assumption there is ‘no safe level’ is “misleading and simplistic” as it fails to consider drinking patterns and other lifestyle factors. It’s also a danger to the European wine trade, as such rhetoric may be used to justify more taxes, marketing restrictions and health warnings that could have damaging effects on the alcohol industry.
The group also notes that the ‘no safe level’ message is “counterproductive”, as “the moderate consumption of wine, particularly as part of the Mediterranean diet and as part of a healthy lifestyles, is associated with greater longevity and the prevention of disease”.
The ‘no safe level’ assumption is based on a single study – Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) study published by The Lancet in 2018 – which, the CEEV says, “has been severely criticized by the scientific community for its analytical flaws”.
While the CEEV notes that it supports the EU’s Beating Cancer Plan and its overall goal to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, the association stresses that the emphasis should be on “tackling the root causes of harmful drinking”.

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