On 13 March, the European Commission (EC) called on leading beverage alcohol producers to draft and develop self-regulatory standards regarding the ingredient and nutritional information printed on their products’ packaging. The call followed the publication of a report, which evaluated the merits of mandatory nutritional labeling for alcohol beverages.
The EU Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers (1169/2011) became applicable in December 2014 and includes rules on listing ingredients and providing a nutrition declaration. These rules are mandatory for all foods, including alcoholic beverages, but an exemption exists for beverages containing more than 1.2% alcohol per volume. However, nutritional information is provided by some producers on a voluntary basis and some Member States have maintained, adopted or proposed national measures imposing additional labelling requirements on ingredients for all or certain alcoholic beverages.
Major producers are expected to submit their proposals to the EC for review within one year, and all pending draft legislation under consideration by EU Member States that mandate additional nutritional labeling for food and beverages will be reviewed by the EC before implementation. Proposals from the industry will be assessed by the Commission. If their proposed self-regulatory approached is considered to be unsatisfactory, the Commission will then launch an impact assessment to review further options.
EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis said that European consumers have the right “to be fully informed about what they drink,” adding that the report’s findings did not indicate “any objective grounds justifying the absence of the list of ingredients and nutrition information” for alcohol.