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Alcohol labels: more information needed

  • Published: Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Latest data shows 85 per cent of alcoholic drinks are not properly labelled. An independent report has shown that just 15 per cent of drinks labels give adequate information on alcohol units and the health risks of drinking.

Existing labelling agreement

In a voluntary agreement made in 2007, the alcohol industry said it would put five key pieces of information on labels:

  • alcohol unit information
  • pregnancy advice
  • a message about responsible drinking
  • a logo and link for Drinkaware
  • the NHS recommended alcohol limits

But the industry has failed to deliver - by 2008 only 6 per cent of alcohol labels had added this information.

Today, still only 15 per cent of labels carry this information.

Why labelling is needed

Better labelling helps people make informed decisions about how much they drink, and can highlight the risks of regularly drinking too much.

The government is now seeking wider opinion on how best to improve unit and health information on drinks labels. It is considering three options:

  • continue with the current voluntary labelling agreement
  • renew and strengthen the self-regulatory agreement
  • make labelling compulsory

The government is asking alcohol producers and other people concerned with alcohol labelling to respond to the consultation.

Details are available through the link below.

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