Following the government’s notifying the EC of changes and amendments to the Bill last January, Portugal, Italy and Bulgaria have made submissions on this notification. The requirement for health warnings to take up one-third of the label was removed when the Government here was warned that this would breach EU legislation but a requirement for the health warning to include the risk of cancer was inserted at that stage as was one for an advertising watershed.
For its part Italy has warned that the price of wine exports to Ireland would have to increase to recover the cost of producing new labels for the Irish market.
According to a recent report in The Times, Portugal has stated that it was not justified to add cancer warning labels to alcohol products “when many common consumer goods and lifestyles were associated with cancer, such as ‘processed meat, red meat, salt-preserved food and long-term shift work’”.
Portuguese officials also pointed out that “the information provided on products should allow consumers to make an ‘informed choice’ and not impose a one-sided view of alcohol consumption.
“It should be noted that labels about cancer do not enable consumers to have a proportionate perspective of the effects of moderate alcohol consumption, thus it is considered that consumers must have complete information about the impact of alcohol consumption on health’ ”.