UK: MPs urge extra health warnings on alcohol labels, marketing clampdown
A group of UK lawmakers are calling for alcoholic drinks to carry health warnings and details of calorie content, as well as the introduction of stricter sanctions on marketing in the country.
A 12-page “manifesto” by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse, published today, urges all political parties to commit to ten measures to “minimise alcohol-related harm in the UK”. The report, researched by the charity Alcohol Concern, also renews calls for the introduction of a minimum unit price.
On labelling, the report says: “Every alcohol label should include an “evidence-based health warning, as well as describing the product's nutritional, calorific and alcohol content”. Many labels already carry warnings around drinking during pregnancy.
The report also recommends a “governement-funded national public awareness campaign on alcohol-related health issues”.
On marketing, the MPs call for regulation to be “statutory and independent of both the alcohol and advertising industries. The regulator needs meaningful sanctions, such as fines that deter non-compliance”.
However, drinks' trade bodies pointed to improving figures around alcohol-related issues in the UK.
Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, said: “The latest trends show that per-capita consumption is now less than it was in 1979 and drinking amongst young people has fallen to its lowest level since records began."
Sarah Hanratty, the Portman Group's deputy chief executive, added: “Government statistics show that awareness of both alcohol units and daily guidelines is increasing.”
In an emailed response to just-drinks, a governement spokesperson said: “We are taking action to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and to give people better information about the impact drinking can have on your health.
"Through our Responsibility Deal the drinks industry has committed to putting unit and health messages on 80% of all bottles and cans. And, we have banned alcohol sales below the level of duty plus VAT to tackle the worst cases of very cheap and harmful alcohol.”
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