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Wines under attack

European plan to fight cancer alarms producers

The European Commission's Plan to Fight Cancer provides, among other things, to label alcohol in such a way that the risk associated with its consumption is highlighted. Wine producers are all in agreement: it is neither the way nor the right time to attack the sector.

The European Commission's plan to introduce the obligation to label products with a clear description of nutritional values and ingredients and then to add, by 2023, warnings on health risks too, as already happens for example on packages of tobacco and cigarettes, alarms producers in the wine sector. Alcoholic beverages have been accused of being harmful to health, so the concern of producers is justified, being already in difficulty due to the pandemic at this time.

The reassurance comes from the vice president of the Commission, Margaritis Schinas , who declares: "The European Union has no intention of prohibiting wine, nor of labeling it as a toxic substance", but these words are not enough to placate Italian producers, according to which would not be the time to demonize the sector.

Italy is a world leader in wine production, with 46 million hectoliters harvested in 2020 alone, 70% destined for Docg, Doc and Igp wines and 30% for table wines, according to Coldiretti data. According to the association, the sector that is worth over 11 billion euros in turnover and which offers jobs to 1.3 million people today could lose 3 billion euros tomorrow and the most serious damaged will be mainly small and medium-sized enterprises , while those that use large distribution will at least be able to resist.

Producers hope that the EU will retrace its steps and for now they are willing to compromise: yes to information labels, but they won't put the negative message in the foreground, for example without upsetting the labels, but rather adding a QR code, such as proposed by Federico Castellucci, president of Fnp Wine of Confagricoltura and producer of Verdicchio in Marche.

Another accusation made against the European Commission, in addition to the one according to which it is not time to move against the wine sector, is having impartially condemned all alcoholic beverages, casting a bad light on wines as well. "It is irrefutable that excessive consumption of alcohol, whatever the drink in question, is harmful to health, but it is however not correct to consider that moderate consumption of wine during meals represents a danger", the Confagricoltura associations write in a letter sent to the European commissioner for economics Paolo Gentiloni and to the MEPs Paolo De Castro and Herbert Dorfmann .

Giorgio Polegato, president of Coldiretti Treviso and owner of a company that exports prosecco, also believes that labeling wine as a product harmful to health is offensive and incorrect and is therefore convinced that the approach adopted by the EU should be avoided.

The controversy is on in Italy, where Marco Casucci, regional councilor of the Lega in Tuscany, the first region for DOP and IGP brands, has announced the presentation of a motion against the European Plan.

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EFA News - European Food Agency