The UK guidelines recommend both men and women stick within 14 units per week

The UK guidelines recommend both men and women stick within 14 units per week

Alcohol trade bodies in the UK have said the government's new safe-drinking guidelines fail to provide consumers with a complete picture. 

A revised version of the guidelines, first unveiled in January, was released yesterday by the UK's chief medical officer (CMO) following a consultation period. They recommended that both men and women stick within 14 units of alcohol per week.

According to the International Alliance For Responsible Drinking, the UK is now one of only six countries in the world to recommend the same levels of alcohol intake for both men and women.

The CMO also said single episodes of drinking should include food, water and a limit to the total amount of alcohol consumed, while pregnant woman, or those trying to become pregnant, should not drink at all. 

British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds criticised the guidelines. "Whilst these revisions have moved away from defining any level of alcohol consumption as fundamentally unsafe, it is disappointing that moderate drinking is not recognised as comparable in risk to many day-to-day activities," Simmonds said. "The guidance fails the 'common sense test', and doesn't provide consumers with a fully objective picture, given that so many studies have shown that moderate drinking can form part of a healthy lifestyle. Ultimately, this makes it harder to engage with consumers to encourage responsible drinking."

Wine & Spirit Trade Association chief executive Miles Beale echoed Simmonds' sentiments. "Rather than inform the consumer these revised guidelines will only serve to confuse," he said. "The revised guidelines also completely fail to take account of the reduction in alcohol consumption in the UK, which has seen a decline of nearly a fifth in the last decade."

To read the UK CMO's low-risk drinking guidelines, click here