Twelve leading beer, wine and spirits companies have pledged to put clear age-restriction labels on their drinks and set tighter controls on access to their online content in a bid to reduce underage drinking.
The European Commission is pushing for a “quick fix” solution to the alcohol labelling deadlock before the end of its mandate, a Commission official close to the issue told EURACTIV.com.
The industry’s proposal on alcohol labelling has some legal issues and does not satisfy the need to fully inform EU consumers, a European Commission spokesperson told EURACTIV.com, raising fresh doubt as to how and when labelling will eventually be regulated.
A group of MEPs has called on the European Commission to turn down an industry proposal on alcohol labelling, claiming that alcoholic beverages should no longer enjoy a preferential regime compared to other foodstuffs.
The wine industry is pushing for the inclusion of its products’ labelling proposals in the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in order to give self-regulation a “legal basis and certainty”.
EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis is not pleased with the “inconsistent” proposal recently submitted by the alcohol industry on labelling and insisted that European consumers should be presented the full information of the products they purchase.
The alcohol industry presented on 12 March their self-regulatory proposal on labelling, focusing on “flexibility” for wine, beer, spirits and cider. Alcohol makers will be free to decide whether to place information on the label, online or both.
Consumer needs and expectations should be the main drivers in defining alcohol labelling, a European Commission spokesperson told EURACTIV.com when asked about the effectiveness of online labelling, an option the alcohol industry wants to introduce.
Nutritional information should be clearly marked on the labels of alcohol products, and the off-label proposals being put forward by industry are not sufficient, writes Professor Markus Peck-Radosavljevic.
Producers will decide how best to convey alcohol information – either on the label and online or just on the internet, EURACTIV.com has learnt.