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Ireland's new alcohol label warns on too thick: critics

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The Republic of Ireland is planning to introduce warning labels on all alcohol products, due to take effect in 2026, and dozens of countries have complained that the effect is “disproportionate”.

Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told reporters this week: “I welcome that we are the first country in the world to take this step and introduce comprehensive health labeling of alcohol products.” “I look forward to other countries following our example.”

Other countries include warning labels on alcohol products, but Ireland’s label will include much more information.

As the BBC reports, the new label will include the product’s caloric content and the number of grams of alcohol, as well as a general warning about the risks of consuming alcohol – including the dangers of drinking while pregnant, including liver disease and fatal heart disease. Cancer risks will also be involved. ,

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“This law is designed to give all of us as consumers a better understanding of the amount of alcohol consumed and the health risks associated with alcohol consumption,” Donnelly said.

One annual health survey Ireland found that around 22% of the country’s population between the ages of 15 and 34 could be considered “binge drinkers”, with 13% of drinkers saying they consume more alcohol now than at the start of COVID-19. Let’s consume The survey also found that 79% of respondents did not know about the risk of breast cancer from heavy drinking, 60% did not know about the risk of bowel cancer, and 7% believed that pregnant It was safe to drink in moderation.

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The delayed start is meant to give businesses a chance to prepare for the change, but it has prompted some dissent from major wine exporters and sellers.

Thirteen EU member states, of which Ireland is a member, have raised concerns over the labelling. France, Italy and Spain led the protest, with Ruggero Correas, Italy’s ambassador to Ireland, saying the plan was “wholly disproportionate”.

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“There is nothing wrong with warnings, the point is that warnings should be proportionate and in this case, since you are talking about alcohol, to say that drinking alcohol on a bottle of wine causes liver disease is completely inconsistent.” is,” complained Corias.

Several groups, including the European Committee of Wine Companies, have lodged a formal complaint with the European Commission against the new label, arguing that they support Ireland’s efforts to fight alcohol abuse, but will hit businesses too hard. That could prove costly, NPR reported.

But the Irish Ministry of Health said it informed Brussels about its regulatory changes in June last year and had received no complaints during the required six-month standstill period. Donnelly told the Financial Times that deferring the change was a “flat number”.

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Another 10 countries outside Ireland, including the UK, the US, New Zealand, Australia and Mexico, have also lodged complaints with the World Trade Organisation, which will discuss the technical barriers at a trade committee meeting on 21 June.

Reuters contributed to this report.