All alcoholic products must prominently state that their usage is associated with cancer and liver damage, according to a regulation passed in Ireland. The extensive health labels or stickers, which must be used starting on May 22, 2026, will also include a warning against drinking while expecting.  The number of calories in each product must be disclosed on alcohol packaging.

The move by Ireland’s Health Minister Stephen Donnelly was opposed by wine-producing nations including Italy, Spain, and six other EU members, but experts have supported it as a positive start because many frequent drinkers are still unaware of the risks associated with alcohol intake.

Alcohol has a significant cultural impact on the Irish, who have a reputation for being heavy drinkers. According to a poll conducted by the Irish government in 2021, alcohol consumption was still high even if it was falling. 37% of those over the age of 15 reported drinking at least once per week (down from 41% in 2018), and 15% reported binge drinking frequently (down from 28% in 2018).

According to an editorial in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, while alcoholic drinks are labelled in many nations with warnings against underage drinking and driving, only South Korea now does so. Ireland will follow suit as the second nation.

The article claims that South Africa passed a legislation requiring strict alcohol warning labels in 2017, but it was later overturned due to domestic and external pressure in 2020.

A 2022 World Health Organisation report on health warnings on alcoholic beverages states that nations like Australia and New Zealand require labelling for standard drink and alcohol content as well as a warning on the dangers of drinking while pregnant on all products with more than 1.15% alcohol.

Since 1990, alcohol has been classified as a class 1 carcinogen (agent that causes cancer) by a WHO agency. There is no safe quantity of alcohol use that does not damage health, the WHO stated earlier this year.

Alcohol is the primary cause of liver cancer in Europe, according to Dr. S K Sarin, vice chancellor of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences in Delhi. He said that between 40% and 52% of all liver malignancies in European nations are brought on by alcohol use.

According to the WHO report that was previously cited, current labelling practises are not standardised across all nations like they are with food, medication, and soft drinks. The inconsistent ways that information is presented, together with other elements like the scope of interventions and assessment techniques, have led to inconsistent practises and results, depriving consumers of crucial data they need to make decisions.

By Bizemag Media

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