Unlike most other consumable products sold in Ireland, alcohol producers are currently not obliged to list contents, ingredients or nutritional values. This reflects the undesirable and irrational fact that there is no harmonising EU legislation regarding listing ingredients, nutritional values or health warnings on alcoholic beverages. In contrast to tobacco, alcohol products are not required to display any health warnings on their products.
Alcoholic beverages, above 1.2 per cent alcohol by volume have benefited from special treatment in all EU regulation on labelling, in a manner that facilitates alcohol harm. At present, they are largely exempted from international conventions and from key food legislation that mandates labelling of ingredients and nutritional information. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has long called for mandatory content and nutritional labelling and health messages for alcohol products. The Brewers are a notable exception who at least, since 2015, have promoted a voluntary disclosure to display specific consumer information.
It is a fundamental right of consumers to make informed choices about the products they purchase, and it is the obligation of government to ensure citizens are able to do so. Adequate labelling of alcohol products must be viewed as part of a comprehensive strategy to provide information and educate consumers to prevent, and reduce, alcohol-related harm.
Source: Prof Frank Murray, The Irish Times, 13/04/18