EU: Alcohol Labelling Parliamentary Questions
Members of the European Parliament Bart Staes (Verts/ALE) and Margrete Auken (Verts/ALE) have submitted a question for written answer to the European Commission in response to the European Commission report on alcohol labelling.
Mr Staes is a Belgian MEP with the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance in the European Parliament and a member of the Committee on Budgetary Control as well as a substitute for the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
Mrs Auken is a Belgian MEP with the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance in the European Parliament and a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
“Criteria used to assess the self-regulatory approach on the labelling of alcoholic beverages”
The Commission has recently published its long overdue report on the mandatory labelling of the list of ingredients and nutritional information of alcoholic beverages (COM (2017)0058), in which it invites the industry to present within a year of adoption of the report ‘a self-regulatory proposal that would cover the entire sector of alcoholic beverages’.
This approach is in contrast to existing mandatory obligations for most other food products and contrary to the wishes of the European Parliament, many Member State experts and public health and consumer organisations, all of whom have been calling for labelling rules. Needless to say, the lack of a legislative proposal is very disappointing.
Nonetheless, in an Exchange of Views held in Parliament on 29 May 2017, it was pleasing to learn that the Commission is committed to ensuring that the information should be provided on the actual product label.
Some alcohol companies are currently providing nutritional information online on a per serving basis without also providing it per 100ml. This is not permitted under Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011.
- Can the Commission confirm that, under its proposed self-regulatory approach, it will insist on labelling per 100ml, and will only allow alternative labelling forms as an addition to the per 100ml method?
- Can it also outline what other criteria it will be using to assess the industry’s proposal?”
European Commission Answer
- The Commission’s report regarding the labelling of alcoholic beverages calls upon the producers of these beverages to develop, within a year, a self-regulatory concerted proposal aiming to provide the list of ingredients and nutrition information on all alcoholic beverages. In this regard, Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 sets rules for the list of ingredients and the nutrition declaration even when provided on a voluntary basis. In particular, the nutrition declaration should be expressed per 100g or per 100ml. At the same time, the legislation does not prevent the operators from giving this information, by using other forms of expression such as per serving. The approach proposed by the sector could provide additional evidence on consumers’ understanding.
- The industry approach should address consumers’ needs and expectations. The Commission will look at the robustness of the developed self-regulatory approach and the level of adherence and involvement of the sector.”
For further reading:
regarding the mandatory labelling of the list of ingredients and the nutrition declaration of alcoholic beverages (COM/2017/0058)
This report is based on data collected by the Commission through Member States and stakeholders consultations.