Wine bottles could carry health warnings under new cancer plan

A bundle of charred grapes hangs from the vine.
A bundle of charred grapes hangs from the vine. Copyright Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle
By Euronews
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Alcohol products may have to change their labels in a bid to fight the risks of cancer.


Wine bottles and other alcoholic products may now have to include health warnings as part of a European Cancer Plan agreed in Strasbourg at the European Parliament on Wednesday.

It includes prevention programs that "provide citizens with the tools and information to lead a healthy life", said European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides.

It is an idea supported by MEP Manuela Ripa from the Greens/EFA group, who said: “We need better labeling and consumers need to be able to recognise at a glance if the product is healthy.

“Because we have scientific facts that prove that all forms of alcohol consumption, even in moderation, can lead to forms of cancer. Why not protect our consumers?"

But MEP Joëlle Mélin of the far-right Identity and Democracy group said the text created “a legislative path to unacceptable supranational constraints”.

“Regarding alcohol or tobacco, we are getting closer to constraints, even when there are only festive behaviors, and it is the European wine industry that is in danger,” she warned.

The text was ultimately watered down by a series of amendments introduced by southern European countries, the main wine producers, who asked not to "criminalise" the consumption of alcoholic beverages. 

Among the amendments adopted, one introduces the notion of “harmful consumption” and dictates that labels should no longer "alert" but "inform".

"We reject the excessive consumption of alcohol, which is harmful to health, and we defend the moderate consumption of wine and our famous Mediterranean diet,” Dolors Montserrat, a Spanish MEP from the Popular group wrote on Twitter.

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