Yes to consumer information but let’s not forget alcohol harm-reduction
We have received DG SANTE’s invitation to come up with a proposal within a year that provides nutritional and calorie information to consumers. We want consumers to receive meaningful information which enables them to make informed decisions. We fully agree that we should provide information on calories and alcohol content, but we want this information to be given per serving of alcohol and not per 100ml. Not least, this is the only way to be consistent with the messages about responsible drinking which we have been promoting for decades.
We are committed to doing our best to try to find smart, innovative ways to inform consumers, along with others in the alcoholic beverage sector, and welcome the ‘challenge’ laid down by the Commission. (See more on this below).
At the same time, we are frustrated that, after two years, DG SANTE has not been able to propose a solution to move ahead with the Alcohol and Health Forum (EAHF) which is on hold since some NGOs decided to quit it. There are many interesting initiatives and prevention programmes still running at national level and we would all benefit if the Commission helped share those best practices through regular meetings of the Forum. We urge SANTE to reconvene regular meetings of the EAHF, regardless of possibly offending those who chose to leave it!
Paul Skehan, Director General*
*in his capacity as permanent representative of Skehan sprl