MEPs want booze to carry calorie labels

Reuters/Michael Dalder
Lawmakers in Brussels have called for beer, wine and spirit makers to label their drinks so people can see how many calories they contain. Most alcoholic drinks up to now have been exempt from displaying this information.

Although food and soft drinks must by law list their ingredients and nutritional information, alcoholic drinks that contain more than 1.2 percent alcohol by volume have been exempt.

The EU parliament Wednesday voted in favor of a resolution which calls on the European Commission to prepare new legislation by next year.

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BEUC a European consumer’s organization said that with the continent facing an obesity crisis, clear calorie labeling for alcohol has become a necessity.

“When people think of calorific drinks, softs drinks spring to mind. But a single large glass of wine contains as many calories as a chocolate bar. The paradox of alcohol being exempt from calorie and ingredient labeling that is mandatory for soft drinks is unjustifiable,” BEUC Director General Monique Goyens said in a statement.

Fiona Sim, the chairwoman of the Royal Society for Public Health, wrote in the British Medical Journal this week that among adults who drink, 10 percent of their daily calorie intake comes from alcohol.

Yet, according to the BBC, a recent survey found that out of 2,117 adults questioned, 80 percent of them did not know that alcohol contributed to the amount of calories they consumed.

A large glass of wine is roughly the equivalent in calories to a doughnut, while a half liter glass of beer is the same as a packet of crisps, according to data from Drinkaware and the Royal Society of Public Health.