Portugal wants alcohol warning labels to ‘show the benefits too’
Portuguese and Italian officials have hit out at Ireland’s plans to include health warnings on alcohol products which link drinking to a higher risk of developing cancer, with Portugal suggesting they should “show the benefits too.”
Health warnings about alcohol, its ingredients, calories and links to cancer were set to take up a third of the space on alcohol labels last year when Simon Harris — Ireland’s minister for Health — accepted amendments to the country’s alcohol labelling laws back in December. The country had to notify the European Commission of the change back in January.
But a new submission to the Commission said that warning consumers about the negative impact of drinking without highlighting its potential positives could “distort reality”, while Italian officials warned that more severe warnings would raise the cost of exporting wine to the country, reports the Times.
It argued that including a link to cancer on warning labels creates an inherently biased viewpoint for the consumer, making it more difficult to make an informed choice.
“It should be noted that labels about cancer do not enable consumers to have a proportionate perspective of the effects of moderate alcohol consumption, thus it is considered that consumers must have complete information about the impact of alcohol consumption on health,” it said.
The submission also said that a number of other everyday products and lifestyles raise the risk of cancer, including red meat, prosecced meat, and “long shift work.”
However, government-funded charity Alcohol Action Ireland said that the changes to legislation would not affect exports from Portugal as it “only prescribes what warnings, regulated by law, should be placed on products sold within Ireland.”