A potential €150,000 is being set aside for consultants to conduct an evidence review, assessing international labelling provisions and designing mock labels to provide health warnings in a tight four-month contract, stated the IMT.
In the report on upcoming alcohol legislation, the Oireachtas Committee recommends that a complementary public awareness campaign should be run to clearly explain labelling to the public.
It also recommends that alcohol labelling should be treated in a similar fashion to tobacco legislation, including that:
- clear health warnings be included on alcohol products, indicating that alcohol causes disease
- the Minister should consider ensuring that warnings be given prominence with an emphasis on visual, graphic designs for maximum effect.
The Committee recommends setting the price per unit at the upper end of the range currently being examined which is understood to be between 60 Cent and €1.10.
Other recommendations include:
- The fostering of close collaboration between counterparts in Northern Ireland to ensure a coordinated approach to the implementation of MUP policy to reduce distortions in cross-border trade
- the introduction of a social responsibility levy as recommended by the Steering Group on a National Substance Misuse Strategy, to capture some of the profit which may arise from introducing a MUP to fund awareness and addiction programmes
- the Minister providing for more robust regulation in the area of advertising and marketing including social media, with input from independent health professionals and experts
- the introduction of a ban on alcohol advertising on television before 9pm and the means by which outdoor marketing of alcohol could be banned or restricted close to schools be considered
- the structural separation of alcohol products from other products in mixed retail environments be considered.
“This report sets out a number of recommendations for consideration by the Minister for inclusion in the upcoming Alcohol legislation,” commented Committee Chairman Jerry Buttimer TD who also pointed out, “The Committee supports proposals to put the regulation of alcohol advertising on a statutory basis. However, it does not believe that a weak voluntary code will translate into an effective statutory code. On this basis, we believe that the Minister may wish to consider developing updated regulations, with input from health professionals.”