Alcohol Labelling in the Global Food System: Implications of Recent Work in the Codex Committee on Food Labelling
Occupying the dual space of psychoactive substances and food, alcohol has to date escaped the international labelling standards required of either category.
Following growing consumer concern focused on ingredient and energy labelling, the issue of alcohol labelling has been brought to the Codex Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL). Russia led the development of a discussion paper on the labelling of alcohol beverages, which was debated in May 2019. The discussion paper presented five policy options, ranging from doing nothing to initiating open-ended work on a new Codex standard.
The progression of alcohol labelling through the CCFL raises a number of issues for public health advocates, as placing alcohol within the scope of the Codex clearly places labelling within the food system and has the potential to side-line health labelling concerns.
This paper will first describe the process leading to the consideration of alcohol labelling at the CCFL and then consider the health and advocacy implications of the different options proposed to progress the work plan.