Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has signed into law a regulation requiring the labelling of alcohol with health warnings on Monday. Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has signed into law a regulation requiring the labelling of alcohol with health warnings on Monday.
First in Europe, the law requires the labels of alcoholic products, such as wine, to indicate the calorie content and grams of alcohol in the product and contain warnings on the risk of consuming alcohol during pregnancy and on the risk of liver disease and fatal cancers due to alcohol consumption.
The law will apply after a three-year transition period, from May 22, 2026.
Donnelly said: “I’m glad we will be the first in the world to make this step. It’s time for other countries to follow our example.”
Ireland’s labelling on alcohol has drawn criticism from several EU states, including Italy, from WTO member states and from alcoholic beverage producers as an “unjustified and disproportionate” barrier to trade.
The topic will be on the agenda of a meeting of the Technical Barriers to Trade Committee on June 21. Last week, European and national associations of wine, beer and spirits producers presented official complaints to the EU Commission to open an infringement procedure against Ireland.
In a note sent to Express.co.uk, Lega MEP Paola Ghidoni lashed out against the EU Commission and Ireland for approving the new legislation.
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She said: “13 countries, including Italy, had opposed it. Despite this, the European Commission’s silence has allowed the Irish Ministry of Health to set a very serious precedent, giving the go-ahead for alarmist labels on wine bottles.
“At risk are not only almost 8 billion in turnover deriving from exports, but a history and a tradition that have embraced many European peoples over the centuries.
“Abuse is one thing, the conscious consumption of an excellence that has always accompanied the life of our communities is quite another.
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“We will monitor the impact of this wicked choice and we will do everything possible to ensure that common sense sweeps away useless alarmism in Europe.”
Italian agricultural minister Francesco Lollobridiga also warned against the potential negative effects of the legislation on trade.
He said: “We will work together with my colleague Tajani, with whom we are discussing right now, to understand – also together with other European nations, such as France and Spain, but not only, who have signed with us a document strongly criticising the Irish action – how to counter this choice of Ireland also in the name of defending a European market that respects the products of each nation.”
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