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.”

The Irish government had proposed health warnings should take up one third of the space on a alcohol product’s label.

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.”

4 Responses to “Portugal wants alcohol warning labels to ‘show the benefits too’”

  1. Next will be accepting a 3 page ‘terms of agreement’ prior the bottle cap unlocking…

  2. Diogo F. says:

    Well done Ireland, I am from Portugal and applaud your initiative. Many will follow, including my country Portugal. Alcohol is worst than tobacco. For sure it has shown some benefits too but ONLY when drink very moderately and for wines only. Portugal produces tons of good wines still being discovered by the world and has many corporate interests for such legislation not passing but I hope it does.

  3. I feel that all alcoholic drinks should be banned from advertising on the tv and other media. You don’t need to hard-sell your product; people can find what they want, buy it and enjoy it.
    Think of those desparate individuals – all over the world, innocently drinking alcohol until they became alcoholics. For their sake, especially when they are trying to learn to keep off alcohol, stop the advertising! This really is a matter of life and death. Thank you.

  4. Dirk Scott says:

    1.25 million people are killed and 25-50 million injured each year by …road accidents. Are we going to have big labels on each car to tell us the risk? Why does the english speaking world have this obsession with warning labels and signs? Once you have cluttered the place up with them everyone ignores them. Mindless do-goodery is just a sop so that officials can say they have “done something” even if what they did was pointless.

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