Ireland Rocks European Boat With Proposed New Alcohol Warning Labels

The Irish Department of Health has informed the European Commission on June 21, 2022, of a draft law involving alcohol warning labels that are likely to prove controversial.

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What a warning label could look like in Ireland
What a warning label could look like in Ireland

The draft warnings are in line with the obligations Ireland imposed on itself with its 2019 Public Health Alcohol Act. Specifically, this requires all alcoholic beverages sold in Ireland to carry two key health warnings. The proposed wording is as follows: "Drinking alcohol causes liver disease" and "There is a direct link between alcohol and fatal cancers."

Unsurprisingly, this strong approach has led to similarly strong reactions from European wine bodies. Leading the pack has been the German Winegrowers' Association (DWV) which, in agreement with all European umbrella organizations, has raised a number of issues.

On the one hand, the proposed labeling requirements are described as 'inconsistent' and incompatible with current EU regulations. On the other, DWV considers that requiring the labels to be used on imported products would be a barrier to trade in the internal market.

Seasoned Brussels-watchers are said to be stocking up on popcorn to enjoy as they sit back to watch how negotiations progress between the Dublin government and their wine-producing European neighbours.



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