Alcohol poses a major risk to public health: the direct and indirect social cost of alcohol abuse in Europe in 2010 alone is estimated at €155.8 billion. Although alcohol is high in calories and can contribute to obesity, most people have no idea how many calories there are in their drinks. A draft resolution to be debated today and voted on Wednesday calls among other things for mandatory labelling of calories in alcoholic drinks. Check out our chart on alcohol consumption in the EU.
Ahead of the debate and vote, we asked two MEPs involved in drafting a resolution on alcohol what they thought about a possible requirement to indicate the number of calories contained in an alcoholic drink on the label.
Italian EPP member Alberto Cirio said: "Information to consumers is important, but it should be measured against the effectiveness, efficiency and an adequacy benchmark. If the cost of filling such labels in does not lead to a healthier approach to alcoholic drinks, it should not be considered as a mantra for a better life."
Meanwhile UK S&D member Glenis Willmott commented "Alcohol is linked to over 60 chronic diseases and to obesity, yet many people don't realise just how many calories are in alcoholic drinks. For example, a large glass of wine contains the same amount of calories as a slice of cake. Consumers have a right to clear, honest labelling to enable them to make informed decisions."