The European Commission has said it will consider a self-regulatory proposal from the alcoholic beverage sector, which outlines how it will advise the public about the ingredients and nutrition of all alcoholic beverages, within a year.
This decision followed on the heels of a report investigating the feasibility of implementing the mandatory labelling of ingredients and nutritional information for alcoholic beverages.
The EU commissioner for health and food safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis explained in a statement, “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”.
‘Outdated nutrition labels’
British industry body, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, lauded the EU’s decision to not place ‘outdated nutrition labels’ onto alcoholic products.
Chief executive Miles Beale commented, “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.”
He said that attempting to cram information on product labels with limited space would be a ‘backward step’, and that online was the best way for consumers to find out information about a particular drink.
Rules and regulations requiring food and drink companies to list ingredients and nutritional content on their products have been in place since 2014, but there has previously been an exemption for beverages containing more than 1.2% alcohol per volume.
If the Commission finds the industry’s proposal unfit, it said it will launch an impact assessment to examine other options.