Alcohol products to carry health warnings

Will include calorie content and cancer risks

Deborah Condon

May 22, 2023

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  • Alcohol products on sale in Ireland are to carry comprehensive health warnings after the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, signed new regulations into law.

    Labels will have to state how many grams of alcohol and how many calories are contained in each product. They will also warn about the risk of consuming alcohol when pregnant, as well as the risk of liver disease and fatal cancers.

    These regulations will apply to alcohol products sold in Ireland. They will also provide that similar health information is available to customers of licensed premises.

    This move makes Ireland the first country in the world to introduce comprehensive health labeling on alcohol products.

    There is a three-year lead-in time built into the law in order to give businesses significant time to prepare for these changes. The law will then apply from May 22, 2026.

    According to Minister Donnelly, the packaging of other food and drink products already contains health information, and where appropriate, health warnings. These new regulations are “bringing alcohol products into line with that”.

    “This law is designed to give all of us as consumers a better understanding of the alcohol content and health risks associated with consuming alcohol. With that information, we can make an informed decision about our own alcohol consumption,” he commented.

    Meanwhile, according to the Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton, everyone has a right to be told about the risks associated with a product before they consume it.

    “This law is designed to ensure all consumers of alcohol have access to clear and concise information about the risks from alcohol. The medical evidence is clear that a cancer risk applies even at lower levels of alcohol consumption,” she said.

    The new regulations came about after Minister Donnelly signed into law the Public Health (Alcohol) (Labelling) Regulations 2023 and the remaining provisions of Section 12 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act.

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