Ireland to put warnings on alcohol labels

The Irish Minister of Health, Stephen Donnelly, confirmed on Monday that he has signed a new law so that from 2026 all alcoholic beverages include caloric content and warnings about their health risks on the label.

In addition to the notices that are currently included, labels on bottles of wine and other alcoholic beverages will refer, “for the first time in the world”, to the risks that its intake implies for pregnant women and its relationship with liver diseases and cancers, among others, explained the head of the branch.

Donnelly made this announcement after the European Wine Companies Committee (CEEV), which represents the sector, filed a formal complaint with the European Commission (EC) last week on this issue.

Specifically, the CEEV asked the Community Executive to open an infringement procedure against Ireland by the law -then still being drafted- of the Government of Dublin to indicate on the labeling of wine and other alcoholic beverages that they are products that are harmful to health.

The minister insisted today that this new regulation will give citizens “more knowledge” about the content of alcoholic beverages and “the dangers associated” with their consumption, while recalling that “it is simply aligned with the information on health already existing in “other food products”.

Donnelly specified that the law will take effect from May 2026 to give companies in the sector time to adapt to the changes.

“I welcome the fact that we are the first country in the world to take this step and introduce extensive health labeling on alcoholic products.

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We hope that other countries will follow our example,” declared the Irish government minister, a coalition between Christian Democrats, centrists and greens.

The NGO “Alcohol Action Ireland” today also applauded the measure adopted by the Ministry of Health and recalled that About 7% of breast cancers in women are related to alcohol use in this country.

On the other hand, the CEEV assured last week, after presenting its complaint, that these rules are “incompatible” with the Law of the European Union (EU).

“The provisions included in the Irish labeling rules are incompatible with EU law and constitute an unjustified and disproportionate barrier to trade under EU law,” said the president of the European Wine Companies Committee, Mauricio Gonz├ílez- Gordon.

He added that the Irish rules “will fragment the EU’s single market by affecting its proper functioning, making it de facto difficult for products from other Member States to access Ireland and thus creating clear discrimination against imported products.”

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