Plans for labelling the calorie content of alcoholic beverages should be tabled by the European Commission at the latest in 2016, said MEPs on Wednesday. The resolution calls for a new EU Alcohol Strategy focusing on alcohol consumption by minors and EU-wide labelling to discourage drink driving and drinking while pregnant.MEPs call on the European Commission to “immediately begin work on the new EU Alcohol Strategy (2016-2022)” in order to assist national governments in dealing with alcohol-related harm. The strategy should include collecting reliable data, improving prevention and treatment, reducing accidents caused by drink driving and analysing various drinking patterns, they say, in a resolution passed on Wednesday by a show of hands.
Label ingredients and calories
- The European Commission should evaluate whether the requirement to provide consumers with information on ingredients and nutritional content should apply to alcoholic beverages, say MEPs.
- The calorie content of alcoholic beverages should be clearly stated, and the Commission should table a legislative proposal to this end in 2016 at the latest, they add.
- MEPs also call for the Commission to consider EU-wide labelling to warn pregnant women not to consume alcohol and to alert drinkers to the dangers of drink driving.
Protecting young people
MEPs urge EU member states to step up efforts to protect young people by strictly enforcing legislation on the drinking age limit, and recommend that they monitor the effects of alcohol advertising on young people and limit their exposure. Member states should also consider measures against the sale of very cheap alcohol, they add.
The European Commission should also tackle cross-border sales of alcohol via the internet, say MEPs. Member states are urged to run campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of binge drinking, especially for minors, and step up efforts to reduce road accidents related to drink driving, says the text.
Misuse of alcohol is the second largest lifestyle-related cause of disease in some member states and alcohol addiction is a risk factor in over 60 chronic diseases, including alcoholic liver disease (ALD), alcoholic chronic pancreatitis and almost all other digestive diseases, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and neuropsychiatric disorders such as alcohol dependence.
Alcohol abuse causes 3.3 million premature deaths worldwide each year, or 5.9% of the total. In the 20-39 age group, roughly 25% of all deaths can be attributed to alcohol abuse. These deaths often follow accidents, acts of violence or liver disease.