United Kingdom: EU vote on alcohol calorie labels
By Editor – Health News
April 29, 2015
Pint of beer or packet of crisps? Both contain similar calories
The European Parliament is set to vote on whether calorie labels should be put on all alcoholic drinks.
Mandatory labeling is needed to inform consumers and help halt rising rates of obesity, say public health experts.
MEPs will decide later if proposals to introduce calorie labeling for alcohol should be ditched or moved to the next stage.
Food already has calorie information, but most alcohol is exempt.
Alcoholic drinks that contain more than 1.2% alcohol by volume are exempt from EU regulations on nutritional labeling that came in to force in 2011 covering all food and soft drink.
If MEPs vote in favor, it will still take many months or even years before the proposals become law.
Glenis Willmott, MEP for the East of England, is a supporter of the call to implement mandatory alcohol labeling.
She said: “Europe is still the heaviest-drinking region in the world but many people don’t realize that a large glass of wine contains the same number of calories as a slice of cake.
“In order to reduce the burden of alcohol-related harm, we must make sure people are given clear information to enable them to make informed choices.”
And in the BMJ this week, Fiona Sim, chairwoman of the Royal Society for Public Health, says among adults who drink, an estimated 10% of their daily calorie intake comes from alcohol.
Yet a recent survey found that 80% of the 2,117 adults questioned did not know the calorie content of common drinks, and most were completely unaware that alcohol contributed to the total calories they consumed.
“Information provided to consumers must be honest and useful,” she writes. “There is no reason why calories in alcohol should be treated any differently from those in food.”
Some alcoholic-drink manufacturers have, voluntarily, begun to introduce nutritional labeling.
How many calories
- A large 250ml glass of 8% wine is 170 calories
- The same amount of 14% wine is 230 calories
- A 275ml alcopop can be 170 calories
- A pint of 4% beer is more than 180 calories
- Four pints on a night out equates of two-and-a-half burgers or 73 minutes of running
- In comparison a sugary doughnut comes in around 200 calories
Source: Royal Society for Public Health, Drinkaware