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[Irish Medical Times] UK should follow Ireland with labels. (12 May 2015)

External website: http://www.imt.ie/clinical/2015/05/uk-follow-irela...

A leading UK public health expert is calling on the British government to follow Ireland’s lead and make calorie counts mandatory on all alcoholic drinks as a matter of urgency.

Prof Fiona Sim, Chair of the Royal Society for Public Health, says alcoholic drinks contribute to obesity and the law “should require restaurant menus and labels to make energy content explicit in addition to alcohol content”.

She explained in The BMJ that, since 2011, packaged foods in the European Union had been subject to regulation requiring labelling with their ingredients and nutritional information, including energy content. But drinks that contain more than 1.2% alcohol by volume were exempt.

And she pointed out that a European Commission report to consider exclusions from the regulation, including calorie labelling of alcoholic drinks, “is now several months overdue, and no revised publication date has been announced”.

Among adults who drink, an estimated 10 per cent of their daily calorie intake comes from alcohol. Yet a recent survey found that 80 per cent of the 2,117 adults questioned did not know the calorie content of common drinks.

“Most women, for example, do not realise that two large glasses of wine, containing 370 calories, comprise almost a fifth of their daily recommended energy intake, as well as containing more than the recommended daily limit of alcohol units,” she explained.

Many respondents were also in favour of calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks.

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