Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted in favour of plans for labelling the calorie content with nutritional requirements on alcoholic beverages.
The move calls for a new EU Alcohol Strategy that will focus on alcohol consumption among minors and consider EU-wide labelling to discourage drunk driving and drinking while pregnant.
MEPs call on the European Commission to immediately begin work on the new EU Alcohol Strategy, which will be implemented during the period between 2016 and 2022.
The new strategy must include collecting reliable data, improving prevention and treatment, reducing accidents caused by drunk driving and analysing various drinking patterns.
MEPs said that the alcoholic beverages must carry labels that include calorie content.
The European Commission should evaluate whether the requirement to provide consumers with information on ingredients and nutritional content should apply to alcoholic beverages.
EU member states are being asked to implement strict legislation on the drinking age limit, in a move to protect young people.
MEPs also recommend EU member states to monitor the effects of alcohol advertising on young people and limit their exposure.
The European Commission should also deal with cross-border online sales of alcohol.
Misuse of alcohol is the second largest lifestyle-related cause of disease in some member states and approximately 3.3 million premature deaths are caused every year across the world due to alcohol abuse.
Alcohol consumption is a risk factor in more than 60 chronic diseases, including alcoholic liver disease (ALD), alcoholic chronic pancreatitis and almost all other digestive diseases, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, foetal alcohol spectrum disorders and neuropsychiatric disorders such as alcohol dependence.
Alcoholic drinks containing more than 1.2% alcohol by volume are currently exempt from an EU law passed in 2011 which mandated all food and drinks items to display ingredients and nutritional information on labels.
Image: MEPs ask the European Commission to state calorie content of alcoholic beverages. Photo: courtesy of Mister GC via freedigitalphotos.