European Alcoho... / Media Centre / Eurocare Newsle... / 2006 / Issue 1 (June 2... / News from the E... / The European Commission opens the debate again on new labeling legislation  


The European Commission opens the debate again on new labeling legislation

The European Commission Directorate General for Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO) is currently rethinking a number of labelling issues and has entered into dialogue with the key stakeholders to redefine the foundations of their approach.

The background paper used by the Commission to frame these discussions can be found on

Individual responses to the paper can be sent to

However, a response from Eurocare might be more effective so please also send your contributions to the Eurocare EU Liaison Office ( Deadline: 16th of June.

DG SANCO consultation will for instance examine alternatives to legislation such as self-regulation, codes of best practice for industry or providing the information off-pack..

On Alcoholic beveragesthe questions in the background paper are the following:

23. Composition; a research carried out on behalf of the Commission shows that consumers have little interest in having information on all ingredients in beer or wine, in general they only express a desire to have information in cases where ingredients are added to “natural products” (spirits were not included in the study)

Given these results, would the indication of at least substances which are likely to have adverse health effects in certain groups of consumers, as is the case for sulphites, be a sufficient option, or should food improvement agents also be labelled? Should mixed drinks like Alco-pop be treated like all other foodstuffs regarding ingredient listing?

25. Should the legislation provide for requirements to be fulfilled, or guidance to be followed with a view to preventing risk of misleading where voluntary information takes place?

26. Should the legislation be more prescriptive on format, size of the text, or could the objective be achieved through voluntary or soft legislation?

27. Should nutritional labeling of alcoholic beverages be mandatory?

42. Health warnings on alcoholic beverages: The Commission will explore the feasibility and viability to use warning labels on the containers of alcoholic beverages to raise awareness on the harmful effect of alcohol on health. This labeling issue merits discussion and evidence gathering now, in the run up to publication in 2006 of a comprehensive EU Alcohol Strategy.