Alcoholic drinks may have to label ingredients after EC ruling

Written by Tom Freeman on 15 March 2017 in News

Alcohol industry given a year to self regulate before European Commission considers imposing regulation on labelling

Alcohol - PA

Alcohol products may have to carry information about the ingredients and calories after the European Commission asked the industry to come up with proposals.

A report for the EC recognised that some producers have started to carry health information on their products and recommended the rest of the industry to develop a self regulatory proposal within a year before it looks at other options.

Currently drinks with more than 1.2 per cent alcohol volume are exempt from EU regulations on listing ingredients and providing a nutrition declaration, although some countries have legislated individually to require it.


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European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety,Vytenis Andriukaitis said: "This report supports the right of people in the European Union to be fully informed about what they drink. Moreover, it does not identify any objective grounds justifying the absence of the list of ingredients and nutrition information on alcoholic beverages. The expansion of voluntary initiatives from the sector has already been ongoing and is brought to the fore in the report". 

SNP MEP Alyn Smith said: “This is good if slightly overdue news. I have said for years that it is only right that consumers should know what they are drinking. A number of firms, including the Scottish brewery Tennent’s, have already committed to printing their ingredients but unfortunately some producers have resisted.

“This is precisely the kind of policy that only the EU can do deliver successfully by regulating across the entire Single Market. Unfortunately, it remains to be seen whether or not Brexit Britain will adopt such a policy but I hope consumers in Scotland will be able to benefit from it.” 

Calories from alcohol are known as 'empty calories' because they have no nutritional value. A pint of beer contains roughly the same number of calories as a large slice of fast food pizza.

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