Labelling

Product labels can serve a number of purposes, providing information about the product to the consumer, enticing the consumer to buy the product and warning consumers of dangers and health risks from the product.

Listing the ingredients contained in a particular beverage alerts the consumer to the presence of any potentially harmful or problematic substances. Even more importantly, providing the nutritional information such as calorie content allows consumer to monitor their diets better and makes it easier to keep a healthy lifestyle.

Unfortunately, on July 6 2011 the European Parliament adopted the compromise with the Council on the proposal for a regulation on the Provision of Food Information to Consumers with 606 votes in favour, 46 against and 26 abstentions (regulation No 1169/2011)

The vote was a culmination of some very heated debates over a number of contentious issues.

Alcohol (beverages containing more than 1,2% by volume) has been exempted from the obligation to list its ingredients and provide nutrition information; consumers will still be unable to know exactly what is in wine, beer or spirits or how many calories they are consuming.

By 13 December 2014, the Commission shall produce a report concerning the application of this regulation and address whether alcoholic beverages should in future be covered, in particular, by the requirement to provide the information on the energy value and the reasons justifying possible exemptions, taking into account the need to ensure coherence with other relevant Union policies. In this context the Commission shall consider the need to propose a definition of ‘alcopops’

Eurocare Papers

What's not on the bottle? Eurocare Reflection on Alcohol Labelling (Sep 2014)

In this paper Eurocare has compiled the key elements of how a comprehensive labelling in the EU should look like. This paper provides a useful brief background of the state of play of alcohol labelling in the EU, from the public health perspective.

What is in your bottle? Alcohol Ingredients Labelling (Dec 13)

Eurocare considers that labelling should be part of comprehensive strategy to provide information and educate consumers about alcohol and should be part of integrated policies and programmes to reduce the harm done by alcohol.
Consumers have the right to know the ingredients contained in alcoholic beverages they drink.
Eurocare would like to call on the European decision and policy makers to work towards prompt inclusion of a list of ingredients, nutritional information (kcal) and health information on the labels

Eurocare Second Library of Health Warning Labels (Dec 12)

Eurocare believes there is a public health interest in informing consumers, by means of labels, of the dangers and health risks associated to the consumption of alcohol. These messages would be a symbolic statement concerning the nature of the product and a low cost reminder that alcohol consumption has some risks.

In this document, you will find a number of sample labels that can be used as a basis for a more elaborated library.

Eurocare Press Releases

10/09/2014

What’s Not On The Bottle? The State of Play in the EU

On the 10th September in the European Parliament (Brussels) public health experts will be calling the European Commission to make changes to alcohol labelling legislation and allow consumers to make truly informed choices.

08/09/2014

UK Parliamentary Group Calls for Health Warnings on Alcohol Labels

The All Party Parliamentary Committee on Alcohol Misuse is calling for several restrictive measures to deal with the “national pandemic” of alcohol abuse in the UK.

11/07/2012

Eurocare welcomes the requirement for allergen labelling in wine for milk, egg and sulphites

European Alcohol Policy Alliance (Eurocare) welcomes the introduction of labelling requirement for allergens in wine.

08/12/2011

Europe-wide action for labels on alcoholic beverages to warn women not to consume alcohol during pregnancy

Organizations and individuals in over 20 European countries are calling for messages on alcoholic drinks to warn women not to drink during pregnancy.

06/07/2011

What’s NOT on the bottle? Exemption of alcohol from Food Information to Consumers Provision

Eurocare (European Alcohol Policy Alliance) is extremely disappointed with the shape of the Food Information to Consumers legislation which exempts alcoholic beverages from obligation to list its content.

17/03/2011

What Is Not on The Bottle? Future of alcohol labels discussed in the European Parliament

Brussels, 17 March 2011. Pick up just about any food or beverage product on store shelves and you'll find on the package information about calories, ingredients etc. Unless that is, the product is alcohol. Alcohol is one of the leading risk factors for death and ill health in the EU, especially among young people. It increases the risk of developing several types of cancer including those of the liver, digestive tract as well as breast cancer, it is responsible for 25% of deaths among young men aged 15-29, causes depression etc.

28/10/2010

Open Letter of support for Thailand's plans for health warning messages on acoholic beverages

Eurocare (European Alcohol Policy Alliance) has issued today an open letter of support for the Thai government for its plans to introduce alcohol health warnings labels on packages of alcoholic beverages

16/06/2010

Parliament votes to exempt all alcoholic beverages from labelling proposal

16 June 2010. At the First Reading vote on the food information to consumers proposal the European Parliament has introduced an amendment to include a temporary derogation for all alcoholic beverages which exempts them from the obligation to list ingredients and nutritional information to all alcoholic beverages.

16/06/2010

What's NOT on the bottle- Eurocare response to the vote

Eurocare (European Alcohol Policy Alliance) is extremely disappointed with the shape of the Food Information to Consumers legislation which exempts alcoholic beverages from obligation to list its content. This is despite the fact that alcohol is high in calorie content, carbohydrates and certain ingredients used in its production can cause allergies or intolerances.

30/01/2008

Commission adopts proposal on the provision of food information to consumers

Brussels, 30 January 2008. Eurocare is pleased that the Commission is taking into account consumers' needs for information regarding mixed alcoholic beverages (alcopops). However Mariann Skar, Secretary General of Eurocare, regrets the decision not to include all alcoholic beverages “this, in our view, is a missed opportunity to adopt a comprehensive approach to labeling and will not benefit the European consumers. Furthermore, this is not in line with the Commission's obligation to seek to improve the coherence between policies that have an impact on alcohol related harm stated in the EU Alcohol Strategy[1].”

08/09/2014

UK Parliamentary Report Calls for Health Warnings on Alcohol Labels

The All Party Parliamentary Committee on Alcohol Misuse is calling for several restrictive measures to deal with the “national pandemic” of alcohol abuse in the UK.

Eurocare Events

What is not on the bottle: Alcohol Labelling Policies to protect young people. 17 March 2011

Seminar Hosted by MEP: Alyn Smith (Greens/EFA)
European Parliament, 17 March 2011

Co-organised by and Eurocare CRIOC

Publications and Resources

A review of Research into the Impact of alcohol Warning Labels on Attitudes and Behaviour

Stockwell, T. British Colombia, Canada: Centre for Addictions Research of BC, February 2006

Warnings on alcohol containers and advertisements: International experience and evidence on effects

Claire Wilkinson, Robin Room (2009) Drug and Alcohol Review, 28, 426–435

Monitoring Implementation of Alcohol Labelling Regime Stage 2

Review of the implementation of a voluntary agreement between alcohol industry and the UK government; Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association (CCFRA), December 2009

Penetration of nutrition information on food labels across the EU-27 plus Turkey

S Storcksdieck genannt Bonsmann1, L Ferna´ndez Celemı´n1, A Larran˜aga1, S Egger1, JM Wills1,
C Hodgkins2 and MM Raats2 on behalf of the FLABEL consortium, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010

A review of the science base to support the development of health warnings for tobacco packages

Sambrook Research International. Study commissioned by the European Commission, May 2009

Provision of Food Information to Consumers

The new EU Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers considerably changes existing legislation on food labelling including: nutrition information on processed food; origin labelling of fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry; highlighting allergens e.g. peanuts or milk in the list of ingredients; better legibility i.e. minimum size of text

The new rules will apply from 13 December 2014. The obligation to provide nutrition information will apply from 13 December 2016.
The new law combines 2 Directives into one legislation:
- 2000/13/EC - labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuff
- 90/496/EEC - nutrition labelling for foodstuffs.

Projects

PROTECT: Alcohol labelling policies to protect young people

The objective of the project was to build capacity at the European, country and local levels by providing information of the experience, evidence base and need for consumer labelling of alcoholic beverages, particularly to create a supportive environment to help prevent the harmful use of alcohol amongst young people.

Pathways for Health

The overall goal of the Pathways for Health Project (PHP) was to improve the knowledge and foster the exchange of programmes and good practices on three specific areas: binge drinking; drink driving; and consumer information and labelling of alcoholic beverages.

News

31/10/2014

Fresh Call for Calorie Labelling on Alcohol

New research from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) shows that the vast majority are unaware of the calories in their alcoholic drinks.

19/06/2014

What’s not on the bottle? Alcohol labels lacking behind

This month Eurocare had the pleasure to present its work and findings on the labelling of alcoholic beverages at the Kettil Bruun Society 40th Annual Meeting in Torino, Italy.

26/05/2014

Eurocare French member ANPAA supports petition on better labeling

Petition for a simple nutrition labeling, intuitive and understandable by all on the front face of the food packaging is strongly supported by ANPAA.

16/05/2014

Calories we forget to count- alcoholic drinks

On the European Obesity Day (17th May), Eurocare warns people not to let extra calories sneak up on them through calorific alcoholic drinks.

11/07/2012

Eurocare welcomes the requirement for allergen labelling in wine for milk, egg and sulphites

European Alcohol Policy Alliance (Eurocare) welcomes the introduction of labelling requirement for allergens in wine.

23/04/2012

What's not on the bottle? Brief overview of state of play in alcohol labelling

Eurocare has developed an update of overview of labeling initiatives, which was first compiled in 2009. We hope that this material will be useful for further discussions on the subject of alcohol labeling. Providing full information about the product should be an obligation to ensure consumer rights are respected by alcohol producers.

14/03/2012

EU treading water on alcohol labelling for more than 30 years now

Last year we have witnessed a bitter reminder of the influence of the alcohol industry over the European decision and policy makers.

27/01/2012

New research on low alcohol consumption and increased health risk during pregnancy

The research found that women who had two drinks a week had 1.5 times the risk of miscarriage as those who didn't drink at all.