The European Junior Doctors permanent working group, European Medical Students’ Association and European Union of Medical Specialists – which all include BMA representatives – have signed a joint letter sent to European commissioner for health and food safety Vytenis Andriukaitis.
The letter welcomed the European Commission’s report published in March last year which suggests a need for improved alcohol labelling in Europe but urged for more to be done, including a mandatory requirement for the entire industry to list ingredient and nutrition details per 100ml on all labels.
The letter also says alcoholic products should show unit information, alcohol consumption guidelines, a health warning message and advice not to drink during pregnancy. The information should be ‘readily available’ at the point of sale and in all printed and electronic material.
The letter says: ‘You will be aware that alcohol consumption in Europe is higher than any other region in the world and that the associated alcohol-related harms correspond accordingly.
‘National governments have an obligation to tackle these issues but cooperation at European level is necessary due to the free movement of goods across the EU.’
A letter sent in response from Mr Andriukaitis says alcoholic beverage producers will develop, by March 2018, a self-regulatory proposal aimed at providing the list of ingredients and nutritional information.
The letter says the proposal would be assessed and ‘next steps’ considered.
It adds: ‘Should the commission… consider the proposal as unsatisfactory, it would then launch an impact assessment to review further available options.’