Ireland introduces warnings on alcoholic beverages: manufacturers protest – business

Whenever it rains, and that’s quite common in Dublin, it’s not easy to get a table at the Ferryman, even in the early afternoon. The Ferryman is a bright red door pub right on the River Liffey with a bar pouring pint after pint. If you’re lucky, someone will unwrap a violin and start playing.

What happens in the “Ferryman” is one of the pleasant aspects of everyday life for many in Ireland. Quite a few even see it as an important part of Irish culture. Going to the pub with friends, having a few pints and clapping along to the music is something they don’t want to miss. But now some see this culture as threatened. And not just in the pub.

According to the government in Dublin, Ireland will be the first country in the world, in which the manufacturers of alcoholic beverages are obliged to warn consumers about these with appropriate information. Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly has already signed the new law, which is due to come into force in 2026. So the companies still have time to prepare for it. “This legislation is intended to give us all a better understanding of alcohol content and the health risks associated with alcohol consumption,” Donnelly said. Consumers should “make an informed decision about their own alcohol consumption”.

It is not yet entirely clear what the warnings should look like. Just this much: Consumers should be warned of health risks such as liver disease or cancer. On the bottles or cans, consumers must also be informed about the calorie content, the alcohol contained and the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomed the Irish law and confirmed its uniqueness. With the new rules, Ireland will become the first country to have comprehensive health labeling on all alcohol products, said in a statement. So far, only South Korea has issued cancer warnings on the packaging of alcoholic beverages.

According to the WHO, light to moderate alcohol consumption was responsible for almost 23,000 cancer cases in 2017 in the EU alone. Almost half of these were breast cancers. A survey by the Irish government shows how little people know about it. For example, 79 percent of those surveyed were not aware that breast cancer could be a result of alcohol consumption.

There has already been criticism, especially from southern Europe

While the Irish Cancer Society has described Dublin’s new law as “groundbreaking”, there have also been all sorts of criticisms. The Spirits Europe lobby group, which represents manufacturers of alcoholic beverages such as Diageo and Bacardi, has asked the EU Commission to initiate infringement proceedings against Ireland. “The measures risk fragmenting the internal market as they deviate from the EU’s harmonized labeling rules”, it says in a statement. The European one also agrees with this Wine lobby association CEEV at.

As early as January, when the Irish government’s plans became known, there was massive criticism, especially from southern European countries. The Italian ambassador to Ireland, Ruggero Corrias, explained his view on Irish radio: “There is nothing wrong with the warnings. The point is that the warnings should be proportionate.” When it comes to wine, the claim that alcohol consumption leads to liver disease is “totally disproportionate”.

In Ireland, more beer is drunk than wine, but many people there should agree with the ambassador. As in Italy, there are also supporters of a certain drinking culture in Ireland who are unlikely to give up anytime soon. You can find them in pubs like the Ferryman in Dublin. Not only, but especially when it rains outside again.

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