Calls for calorie info on spirit bottles

31st October, 2014 by Melita Kiely

Fresh calls have been made for calorie information to be displayed on bottles of spirits in order to tackle the impact alcohol has on obesity.

Spirits barThe Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) is urging the drinks industry and newly appointed EU Health Commissioner to introduce calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks.

It comes in the light of new research by the RSPH, which shows strong public backing for the move (67%) and a “general lack of awareness” with consumers about how many calories are contained in alcoholic drinks.

The European Commission has already made a public commitment to make a decision on extending nutrition labelling and calorie labelling on alcoholic beverages by December 2014.

As it stands, alcoholic products are not classified as food under current EU laws and are therefore exempt from normal food labelling.

“Calorie labelling has been successfully introduced for a wide range of food products and there is now a clear public appetite for this information to be extended to alcohol to help individuals make informed choices,” said Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of RSPH.

“With two in three adults overweight or obese and given that adults who drink get approximately 10% of their calories from alcohol, this move could make a major different to waistlines of the nation.

“While we continue to back unit labelling for alcoholic drinks, we believe that many people find calorie labelling easier to translate into their everyday lives.

“We know that the EU commission is due to publish its findings on extending nutritional labelling to alcohol in December and would b extremely surprised if they didn’t back this measure to improve the public’s health.”

Data concluded from the study found that more than 80% of the public did not know or incorrectly estimated the calorie content of a large glass of wine and nearly 90% did not know or incorrectly estimated the calories in a pint of lager.

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