Ireland will be the first country to require information on calories and health risks to be included on alcoholic beverage labels. The necessary law has now been signed by the Irish government. However, it is being fiercely opposed by other EU member states as well as the European Wine Producers Association (CEEV). CEEV has lodged a complaint with the European Commission, arguing that the proposal would violate the rules of the internal market and constitute a barrier to trade. It would hinder the entry of products from other member states into Ireland and thus lead to "clear discrimination against imported products". The EU intends to present its own health warnings, valid for all member states, later this year.
All labels on alcoholic beverages, after a three-year transition period from 22 May 2026, will not only have to point out the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, but also warn of the risk of liver disease or cancer and refer consumers to the "Ask About Alcohol" website for further information. The new rules are also to include health information for visitors to public houses. The indication of the alcohol content in grams and the calorie content will also become mandatory.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly defends the law: "It is designed to give us consumers a better understanding of alcohol content and the health risks associated with alcohol consumption. With this information, we can make informed choices about our own alcohol consumption. The packaging of other foods and beverages already contain health information and, where appropriate, health warnings. This law will bring alcoholic products in line with that information. I welcome the fact that we are the first country in the world to take this step and introduce comprehensive health labelling for alcohol products. I look forward to other countries following our lead."
(al / source: drinksbusiness)