Statement from Alcohol Action Ireland on Health Information Labelling of Alcohol Products.
In June 2022 the Department of Health published its draft labelling regulations for alcohol products under Section 12 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018.
We welcome comments from the Department of Health, as reported in the media today, 9 Jan 2023, that the European Commission did not raise any objection to these regulations.
This means that the way is now clear for the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, to sign these provisions into law.
These regulations will ensure that no alcohol product can be sold without bearing a warning that informs the public that :
(i) “Drinking alcohol causes liver disease”
(ii) displays a health symbol intended to inform the public of the danger of alcohol consumption when pregnant, and
(iii) “There is a direct link between alcohol and fatal cancers”
In addition, the regulations make it mandatory that the alcohol and calorie content within the product is stated, and that the public health alcohol information website ‘askaboutalcohol.ie’ is displayed.
Commenting on the development, Alcohol Action Ireland CEO, Dr Sheila Gilheany, said:
“The labelling regulations are ground-breaking and have been warmly welcomed by public health authorities and advocates globally. Indeed 70% of the submissions to the EU TRIS consultation process on this matter have been highly supportive of the measure. Opposing comments were from the alcohol industry.
This measure has been extensively debated in the Oireachtas, was democratically mandated in 2018 and has very strong public support with 72% indicating in a recent poll that consumers have a right to be informed on the product and in advertising of the health risk from alcohol use with only 11% opposing such a move.
With 1000 alcohol related cancer diagnoses every year but unfortunately low levels of public awareness of the risks as well as high levels of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder and liver disease it is important that there is no further delay on implementing this measure.
We are aware of other jurisdictions such as Norway which are now proposing similar steps around cancer warnings on alcohol products. Ireland as a country can take great pride in leading the way.”
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