Page last updated: October 24, 2017

Calls to improve labelling of alcoholic beverages in Europe

On September 27 in the European Parliament, MEPs and health campaigners called for the alignment of alcoholic beverages with other food products.

In March 2017, the European Commission published a report stating that no objective grounds were identified which would justify the absence of information on ingredients and nutritional information on alcoholic beverages. The European Commission gave the alcohol producers 1 year to deliver a self-regulatory. The Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis has also said that this approach should cover all types of alcoholic beverages in order to avoid any misunderstanding or confusion from the consumers and to allow comparisons between the different types of alcoholic beverages.

”People have a right to know what is really in the products they buy. The EU legal framework must ensure that consumers can make truly informed and easily comparable choices for all alcoholic beverages, just as they can for other products. Therefore, we should close the current loophole in the Food Information to Consumers regulation so that the content in all alcoholic beverages is provided per 100ml” said MEP Jytte Guteland, who hosted the event. Listing ingredients contained in a beverage would alert the consumer to the presence of any potentially harmful substances. More importantly, providing nutritional information such as energy content allows consumers to monitor their diets better, and makes it easier to keep a healthy lifestyle. Alcohol labelling has traditionally been opposed by some producers, especially in the wine sector and amongst small and medium-sized producers. The organisers of the event emphasised that they aim to ensure that consumers have easily accessible information about the products at the point of sale.

”We recognise the concerns of small and medium-sized producers. However, the EU has in its repertoire tools that could ease that burden. Currently, the Common Agricultural Policy spends nearly €250 million a year on wine promotion. Surely some of that money can be used to produce labels that would provide consumers with information on calories and ingredients”, said Mariann Skar, Secretary General of European Alcohol Policy Alliance.



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