EBN – Ireland is set to become the first country globally to introduce health labels on alcoholic beverages. The Irish population ranks among Europe’s heaviest drinkers, with individuals consuming 12.7 litres of alcohol in 2019.
This starkly contrasts with Italians, who consumed just eight litres annually, the lowest among European countries.
Under Ireland’s new legislation, alcoholic beverage packaging will be mandated to display crucial information. This includes calorie content, warnings about the risks of cancer and liver disease, and the dangers of alcoholic consumption during pregnancy.
Additionally, these labels will direct consumers to the Irish Health Service Executive website for more in-depth information on alcoholic consumption.
European Commission Approves
The European Commission has granted its approval for this new plan, and the law should be implemented in 2026.
This move has spurred public health professionals to advocate for the adoption of similar regulations across the entire European Union.
Ray Walley, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of European Doctors, representing national medical associations throughout Europe, stressed the importance of alcohol consumers being informed about the risks associated with alcohol.
He also expressed support for the right of individual national governments, like Ireland, to undertake such initiatives.
Alcohol Producers Voice Concerns
However, the impending introduction of health labels on alcohol has raised concerns among alcohol producers across Europe, who fear that this could impact their sales.
Alcoholic consumption in Europe was worth 128 billion euros in 2021, with Poland, Estonia, and Latvia in the lead. However, younger generations are now less eager in the use of alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, the demand for low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks is also increasing.
A research article published in the Nutrients Journal highlighted that “European consumers are increasingly buying and drinking lower-strength alcohol products over time.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that 3 million deaths a year occur due to abuse of alcoholic drinks. This figure makes 5.3% of all deaths worldwide.
Moreover, about 13.5% of overall deaths among people aged 20 – 39 years are because of alcoholic abuse.