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Ireland becomes first country with health info on alcohol labels

Ireland is set to become the first country with alcohol labels that will list calorie and health risk information for consumers.

Following a new law being signed off by government officials, the labels on alcoholic drinks sold in Ireland will soon begin to highlight the grams of alcohol, and the calorie content for each product along with any associated health risks connected to the contents. The regulations, which have been signed off by the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly as part of the Public Health (Alcohol) (Labelling) Regulations 2023 and the remaining provisions of Section 12 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act, will become law from 22 May 2026.

Labels will now not only highlight any associated risks of consuming alcohol when pregnant, but will also warn of the risk of liver disease or cancers and will also direct consumers to the HSE website Ask About Alcohol for further information. The new measures are also set to include health information for customers in licensed premises.

Speaking about the new measures, Donnelly said: “This law is designed to give all of us as consumers a better understanding of the alcohol content and health risks associated with consuming alcohol. With that information, we can make an informed decision about our own alcohol consumption.”

The new regulations being rolled out across Ireland bring the country’s alcohol aisles up to date with other food and drink product labels. As Donnelly pointed out: “Packaging of other food and drink products already contains health information and, where appropriate, health warnings. This law is bringing alcohol products into line with that.”

There is a three-year lead-in time built into the law in order to give businesses significant time to prepare for the change. Donnelly added: “I welcome that we are the first country in the world to take this step and introduce comprehensive health labelling of alcohol products. I looked forward to other countries following our example.”

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