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EU Set To Vote on Calorie Labelling for Alcoholic Drinks

April 29, 2015
Public Health

Members of the European Parliament will decide today whether to introduce calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks. If draft proposals are approved, they will pass on to the European Commission before becoming law; legislation covering food and soft drinks was first introduced in 2011, but drinks that contain more than 1.2% of alcohol by volume are exempt.

Professor Fiona Sim, chair of the Royal Society for Public Health, is in favour of the move. “Adults can drink an estimated 10 per cent of their daily calorie intake comes from alcohol,” she told the British Medical Journal, “with the insidious increase in the size of wine glasses in bars and restaurants in the past decade, it seems likely that many of us have unwittingly increased the number of invisible calories we consume in alcohol. There is no reason why calories in alcohol should be treated any differently from those in food.”

A 250ml glass of 14% wine contains 230 calories equivalent to the average hamburger. In a recent survey of 2,117 adults, 80% of those questioned did not know the calorie content of common drinks, while many were unaware that alcohol contributed to the number of calories they consumed. Compulsory calorie labelling will be introduced in the US from December of this year, while Ireland is set to be the first EU country to bring in the measure if the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 if passed by MP’s.