Ireland Gets Aggressive on Alcohol Warnings

Nation to require blunt warnings about health risks such as cancer
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2023 4:37 PM CDT
Ireland Gets Aggressive on Alcohol Warnings
A customer drinks a pint of Guinness at a Dublin bar in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Julien Behal/PA)

Ireland may be the butt of endless jokes about heavy drinking, but the nation has just approved aggressive new labeling rules that are anything but amusing to alcohol suppliers. Starting in three years, the nation will require stark health warnings on alcoholic beverages, reports NPR. The warnings also will have to be posted in pubs. As Politico previously reported, the wording will be blunt, along the lines of, "Drinking Alcohol Causes Liver Disease" and "There Is a Direct Link Between Alcohol and Fatal Cancers." The text is expected to be in uppercase and in red, making the words hard for drinkers to miss.

Other nations requires warning labels to a certain extent—the US, for example, mandates them on beverages over 0.5% alcohol by volume, notes NPR. But Ireland is boasting that its rules will be the strictest of any nation. "I welcome that we are the first country in the world to take this step and introduce comprehensive health labelling of alcohol products," said health minister Stephen Donnelly. "I look forward to other countries following our example." The labels also will address the dangers to pregnant women, and they must include calorie counts as well.

Alcohol producers throughout the European Union objected to the new rules unsuccessfully, and nine EU member nations also raised formal objections, per Politico. The Italian ambassador to Ireland, for one, called the rules too draconian, reports the BBC. "There is nothing wrong with the warnings," said Ruggero Corrias. "The point is the warnings should be proportionate and, in this case, since you're talking about wine, saying that drinking alcohol on a bottle of wine causes liver disease is totally disproportionate." (More Ireland stories.)

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