Make alcohol calorie labelling mandatory

Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has urged the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD, to make calorie labelling on all alcoholic beverages mandatory. Recent research conducted by the Royal Society of Public Health in the UK found that alcohol drinkers consume 400 fewer calories during a night in the pub if their drinks have calorie labels.

“The survey of 2,000 people found that 80% had no idea of the calorie content of alcoholic drinks. For example, very few knew that a large glass of wine could contain as many calories as a doughnut.

“The research, involving two groups of pub drinkers, also revealed that those who were given calorie information cut back on high calorie drinks, or drank fewer alcoholic drinks in total.

“Ireland’s annual per capita consumption of alcohol is 11.7 litres of pure alcohol per person aged 15 and over, which equates to a bottle of vodka each every week.

“As the situation stands, there is little regulation around labelling of alcoholic beverages, and yet a bottle of water has to have its nutritional values detailed.

“The average adult who drinks alcohol gets about 10% of their calorie intake from alcohol. I believe that if such labels were introduced here they could help tackling Ireland’s soaring obesity problems and reduce levels of harmful drinking.

“The European Commission is currently considering whether to make unit and calorie labels on alcohol compulsory, with a decision expected by December. Meanwhile, the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is due to be published here shortly and I urge the Minister for Health to ensure that alcohol calorie labelling is made mandatory in this Bill.”

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