Labour’s leader in Europe, Glenis Willmott MEP, has called for European rules on food labelling to be extended to alcoholic drinks. Under a new EU law coming into force next year all food and non-alcoholic drinks must label ingredients and basic nutritional information.
Mrs Willmott, Labour’s spokesperson on health, said:
“The fact a medium glass of white wine contains roughly the same number of calories as a chocolate bar might make people think twice before having a second glass.
“When consumers buy orange juice they have all the facts and figures about the ingredients and nutritional values, but for alcoholic beverages there is no information at all, unless retailers take voluntary measures. Consumers expect and deserve to be informed about what they are buying, and I don’t see any reason why alcohol should be treated differently.”
Mrs Willmott led for her political group on the 2011 Food Information Regulation, and supported including alcohol in the labelling requirements:
“Unfortunately the alcohol industry successfully lobbied for their products to be excluded from the rules, with the support of Tory MEPs. However I did manage to get a commitment from the European Commission to look into nutritional labelling on alcohol and report back next year.
“Most people know the health concerns of drinking alcohol, such as increased risk of liver disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease and addiction. The role alcohol plays in nutrition and obesity, however, is often overlooked.”
A formal question to the Commission was submitted by Mrs Willmott last week, asking what progress had been made on this report.