UK: Trade questions alcohol label report

15 February, 2010

The UK drinks trade has questioned findings of a new report that suggests 85% of alcoholic drinks are not labelled properly.

Responding to the publication a survey of industry compliance with a voluntary agreement for inclusion of sensible drinking messages on alcohol product labels, WSTA (Wine and Spirit Trade Association) chief executive Jeremy Beadles said:

"There is no doubt that the figures from the Campden survey are disappointing but they are also rather surprising given our own research conducted more recently.

"We have analysed three times as many products at two major supermarket outlets and they show significantly higher levels of compliance with all 5 elements of the labelling scheme. Over 50% of our sample is using the Pregnancy logo for example.

"What's more in the last few months several major companies have signed up to the voluntary scheme.

"We urge all companies in the sector to do this voluntarily. It is clearly in their interests to do this rather than face further labelling legislation."

The UK’s second largest brewer, Molson Coors which owns Carling, carries all five of the health labels recommended by the Department of Health for alcohol beverages.
Mark Hunter, Molson Coors (UK) CEO said: "We want our product to be enjoyed, not abused. That is why we are firmly committed to working in partnership with Governments, NGOs and others to effectively address alcohol harm and to relabelling all of our brands and packs with the 5 health labels recommended by the Department of Health.

“We welcome the Government’s consultation document to increase education about a healthy approach to drinking. We firmly believe that to increase consumer awareness, the entire industry should have consistent labelling – these labels would be a great step to increased education about responsible drinking. We urge all of our industry colleagues to agree to this co-regulatory scheme for labelling on all alcohol products."

The five labelling pointers include: unit information, pregnancy advice, a responsible drinking message, the logo and web address of the industry-funded Drinkaware charity and official daily recommended limits in units.

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