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Ireland insists on anti-alcohol labels, Rome holds back

The Ministry of Health confirms that in "2 or 3 months" it will be able to initiate the law

Ireland is going its own way with regards to the idea of integrating health indications on possible harm into alcohol labels, and Italy is preparing for a battle on all possible fronts in order to limit the damage. This is more or less the picture of the situation, after a few days ago Claire Gordon , head of the tobacco and alcohol control unit of the Ministry of Health in Dublin, even urged the other EU countries to do the same by giving a push decisive for the extension of these blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view) anti-alcohol "warnings".

"The hope - Gordon reiterates - is that within 2 or 3 months we will be able to start this law and then that all the other countries will follow us. We are very grateful and in fact a little surprised that we have successfully passed the EU evaluation because it is in some way a violation of the single market".

The next formal steps include a notification by Ireland to the World Trade Organization: the new labeling system, in fact, could be considered an obstacle to international trade. Dublin is aware that the passage to the WTO could present difficulties, but aims to successfully close the procedure.

Right now, the hopes of countries like Italy are focused on the WTO, openly against this anti-alcohol crusade. One voice above all, that of Coldiretti, association of direct farmers, which in a statement reiterated the need to "stop a dangerous precedent that puts at risk a symbolic product of Italy which is the world's leading producer and exporter of wine with a turnover of over 14 billion euros in a sector that from field to table offers direct and indirect job opportunities to 1.3 million jobs".

"In this context - underlines Coldiretti - the intervention of the WRO, the World Trade Organization against a trade-distorting rule is important, also with the support of the alliance built by Italy with France, Spain and other countries of the 'EU on the initiative of the MASAF minister Francesco Lollobrigida ".

More than half of the turnover of Italian wine is made abroad for a total of 8 billion in 2022 which, according to Coldiretti "could be put at risk by the spread of unjustified alarms on the label aimed at containing the consumption of a product present on the tables thousands of years and which is a full part of the Mediterranean diet".

“It is completely improper - says the president of Coldiretti, Ettore Prandini - to assimilate the excessive consumption of spirits typical of the Nordic countries to the moderate and conscious consumption of quality products with a lower alcohol content such as wine which has become the emblem of a slow lifestyle, attentive to the psycho-physical balance which helps to feel good about oneself, to be opposed to the unregulated intake of alcohol”.

"The Union's just commitment to protect citizens' health -according to Coldiretti- cannot be translated into simplistic decisions that risk unjustly criminalizing individual products regardless of the quantities consumed".

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EFA News - European Food Agency