EU rules on alcohol drinks labelling a 'backward step'

13 March 2017

WSTA chief exec Miles Beale has likened EU rules on listing ingredients and nutrition information on booze to using '20th century methods on a 21st century issue'.

'Trying to cram more information on product labels which have limited space is a backward step,' he said. 'We should not be using 20th century methods on a 21st century issue. People who want to know more about what they are drinking are very capable of going online and finding out for themselves.

'The alcohol industry has shown they are ahead of the game on nutrition information and have for some time provided consumers with off–label calorific content of drinks.'

The European Commission today called for alcoholic drinks to list ingredients and nutrition information, matching the requirement for non-alcoholic beverages that came into force in December 2016. EU rules oblige producers of beverages below 1.2% abv to list ingredients and provide the seven nutritional values per 100ml. The EU Regulation also requires companies voluntarily providing ingredients and calorie information for alcoholic beverages above 1.2% abv to do so per 100ml.

'Outdated nutrition labels will not be forced onto alcohol products after the European Commission today challenged the industry to come forward with proposals for providing consumers with information on the content of alcoholic drinks,' Beales added.

'We welcome the Commission’s decision not to force mandatory labelling on alcohol at this stage and instead have turned to industry to come forward with the most effective way to properly inform consumers, without space limitations, in this digital age.'

The WSTA has offered alcohol calorie information on its website for two years, as have a number of drinks companies and retailers who all took voluntary action to help consumers find out more about their favourite drinks.

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