UK gov alcohol advice is ‘dead in the water’

25th September, 2017 by Nicola Carruthers

The UK government’s alcohol guidelines have been branded as ‘dead in the water’ by new consumer group Drinkers’ Voice, following criticism from health specialists and industry groups.

The UK government’s alcohol advice is being branded as ‘dead in the water’

According to the group, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Scotch Whisky Association, British Beer and Pub Association, and the National Association of Cider Makers have decided to not recommend to their members that they should display the weekly drinking guidelines on their products.

Drinks producers were previously advised to advertise the former alcohol guidelines as well as the units contained in the bottle. Under new advice, only the units in the drink need to be displayed and drinkers will be directed to the Drinkaware website for further information.

The guidelines were reduced from 21 units a week to 14 units for all drinkers last year. The chief medical officers, who are responsible for the guidelines, have also said that there is ‘no safe level’ of alcohol.

Research published by the Royal College of Physicians this week also highlighted that only 8% of the public know what the current drinking guidelines are.

Drinkers’ Voice, which represents drinkers across the UK, is calling for a more open debate about the link between alcohol, health and wellbeing.

The group believes that the industry’s decision to remove the guidelines from labels “reflects a general mistrust” of the government’s advice.

“People just don’t want to listen to the government when it comes to alcohol advice anymore,” said Drinkers’ Voice director Byron Davies.

“We are opposed to the guidelines, not least because they are among the lowest in Europe. There is little scientific evidence behind them and they have been discredited by many as being based on biased opinion and distorted statistics.

“They ignore the positive health benefits of moderate drinking and prescribe a ‘one size fits all’ approach to millions of drinkers across the country. That is totally inappropriate, and the reason why confidence in the government’s health advisors has been seriously undermined.”

“It would be irresponsible for the alcohol industry to suggest that these low guidelines are right for all drinkers. We are pleased that drinks manufacturers are taking a stand on this issue, and suggest that the government would be well advised to consider the credibility of the advice that they have issued.”

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