The Irish government has announced the introduction of new alcohol labelling legislation, that will see calorie counts and additional health warnings printed on labels for the first time.
The new labelling legislation is being made under the Public Health (Alcohol) (Labelling) Regulations 2023 and the remaining provisions of Section 12 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act.
According to the new legislation, the labels of alcohol products are required to carry information on calorie content, grams of alcohol, and warnings about the risk of consuming alcohol while pregnant.
Labels will also warn of the risk of liver disease and fatal cancers from alcohol consumption, the government said.
A three-year lead-in time has been built into the law in order to give businesses significant time to prepare for the change, meaning the law will become fully enacted by 22 May 2026.
'A Better Understanding'
"This law is designed to give all of us as consumers a better understanding of the alcohol content and health risks associated with consuming alcohol," commented minister for health Stephen Donnelly. "With that information, we can make an informed decision about our own alcohol consumption.
"Packaging of other food and drink products already contains health information and, where appropriate, health warnings. This law is bringing alcohol products into line with that."
Donnelly added that he welcomed the fact that Ireland was the "first country in the world" to take this step, adding that he was looking forward to other countries taking this example.