EU drinks producers commit to provide nutritional information
Differences between EU and Irish regulations in drinks labelling threaten to create a barrier to free trade, the ABFI has said in welcoming new EU regulations surrounding drinks producers.
23 March 2018
A new EU-wide commitment by drinks producers to provide more nutritional information and listing of ingredients has been welcomed by Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI). SpiritsEUROPE and Brewers of Europe, of which ABFI are members, are among the seven drinks trade associations in the EU leading the initiative. The commitment was presented to Health Commissioner Vytenis Andruikaitis today and will roll out in Ireland over the next four years.
The aim of the commitment is to provide harmonised and consistent information to consumers on an EU-wide basis, either on or off-label. Some companies, such as small producers, may opt for online solutions, while others will choose to provide information both on labels and online.
This choice offered to producers offered by the EU is in contrast to the demands of the Alcohol Bill, according to the ABFI. It warned that the draconian labelling provisions in Ireland’s Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will impose a disproportionate burden on Irish producers compared to those elsewhere in the EU.
“Today’s announcement highlights the commitment by the drinks industry to help consumers make informed choices,” said Patricia Callan, director of the ABFI. “What makes this initiative even stronger is the fact that it is being taken on a pan-EU basis across 28 member states. In light of this harmonised EU-wide approach, rolled out in a speedy and workable fashion, we believe the Government must consider reasonable amendments on the labelling proposals in the Alcohol Bill.”
In particular, Callan called on the Government to remove the requirement for country-only labels, including a cancer warning label from the Bill. This would potentially force producers to provide Irish-only shipments and labels, creating extra cost across the board.
“These labelling requirements could represent a barrier to entry to the Irish market,” Callan said. “As a result of the additional costs that would be imposed, products might be withdrawn from the Irish market or new products might not be introduced.”