Al­co­hol warn­ing change to la­bels

Irish Examiner - - News - Elaine Lough­lin

Health la­bels in­clud­ing can­cer warn­ings will cover one third of al­co­hol bot­tles un­der leg­is­la­tion which has passed through the Seanad.

Min­i­mum unit pric­ing and re­stric­tions on ad­ver­tis­ing will also be in­tro­duced as part of the bill.

Cam­paign groups in­clud­ing the Ir­ish Can­cer So­ci­ety wel­comed the pass­ing of all stages of the Pub­lic Health (Al­co­hol) Bill through the Up­per House yes­ter­day.

How­ever, Al­co­hol Ac­tion Ire­land pointed out that the bill, which was the sub­ject of much con­tro­versy and de­bate, was first in­tro­duced to Seanad Éire­ann 735 days ago. The group said that in that time, 2,205 lives have been lost to al­co­hol re­lated ill­ness, trauma and harm.

Al­co­hol la­bels will be re­quired to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on in­gre­di­ents, calo­ries, and warn­ings around the links be­tween drink­ing and can­cer as part of the changes.

Un­der the new rules, these de­tailed la­bels will be re­quired to take up one third of avail­able space on al­co­hol prod­ucts.

Speak­ing in favour of the changes, Sen­a­tor Frances Black, who pro­posed the onethird la­belling amend­ment along with Labour Sen­a­tor Ged Nash, said: “I do not want to see a health warn­ing in­tro­duced that amounts to a small run of text that sim­ply will not make any dif­fer­ence.

“I am glad that the bill will in­tro­duce these warn­ings but they must be sub­stan­tial in size and clar­ity.”

Sen­a­tor James Reilly said said there is a lack of aware­ness about the car­cino­genic ef­fect of al­co­hol and also wel­comed the in­clu­sion of calo­rie de­tails as he said it sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­utes to obe­sity.

But the Al­co­hol Bev­er­age Fed­er­a­tion of Ire­land (ABFI) said the changes would be “dev­as­tat­ing” for the in­dus­try. “This in­creased cost will be par­tic­u­larly harm­ful for small lo­cal pro­duc­ers and new en­trants,” said ABFI di­rec­tor Pa­tri­cia Cal­lan.

“The la­belling re­quire­ments would act as a se­vere bar­rier to en­try and such a mea­sure would cause se­ri­ous rep­u­ta­tional dam­age to Ire­land’s pre­mium drinks prod­ucts.”

Speak­ing in the Seanad, Mr Har­ris said: “Ob­vi­ously we want to change be­hav­iour and cul­ture in Ire­land in terms of al­co­hol. We want to par­tic­u­larly try and tar­get and change be­hav­iour and cul­ture in the next gen­er­a­tion of Ir­ish cit­i­zens.”

Be­fore be­ing brought back to the Seanad for de­bate and vot­ing yes­ter­day, Mr Har­ris had tweaked the leg­is­la­tion to in­clude con­ces­sions for small traders con­cerned about the fi­nan­cial im­pact of seg­re­gat­ing al­co­hol from other prod­ucts in stores with ‘booze cur­tains’.

Re­tail­ers will now have the choice of three op­tions for the dis­play and sale of al­co­hol prod­ucts.

They can separate al­co­hol from all other gro­cery prod­ucts be­hind a non-seethrough bar­rier of at least 1.2m in height; can put al­co­hol in stand­alone cab­i­nets, but where up to a height of 1.5m, the al­co­hol prod­ucts are not vis­i­ble; or have a max­i­mum of three nor­mal units or bays for the dis­play and sale of al­co­hol prod­ucts.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.