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EU to vote on alcohol calorie labelling

Members of the European Parliament will vote today on whether calorie labelling should be made compulsory on all alcoholic drinks.

Health experts have long been calling for calorie information to be included on alcoholic beverages, insisting that it is a necessary measure to help tackle obesity.

Currently, any alcoholic drink with an abv of more than 1.2% is exempt from EU regulations, which came into force in 2011, imposing nutritional labelling on food and drink.

MEPs will decide later today if proposals to introduce mandatory calorie labelling on all alcoholic beverages should be progressed to the next stage.

A recent survey by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) found that 80% of 2,117 adults questioned did not know or incorrectly estimated the calories in a large glass of wine, while almost 90% did not know the calories in a pint of lager. Many were completely unaware that alcohol contributed to the total calories they consumed.

Earlier this year Diageo became the first drinks producer to commit to calorie labelling saying it would be adding nutritional information to all of its products as soon as possible.

In the UK, the drinks trade has already labelled 80% of products with key health information, with 90% now carrying a warning about drinking while pregnant as part of the Responsibility Deal backed by the Government.

Henry Ashworth, chief executive of The Portman Group said at the time: “The industry also provides detailed consumer information on their websites and promotes and funds Drinkaware, the alcohol information charity. Diageo’s announcement is further proof that responsible companies are taking decisive action to help consumers make informed choices.”

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