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State’s plan to label alcohol with health warnings draws interest from other countries

Jul 15, 2023

Ireland’s plan to introduce mandatory health warnings on alcohol labels has sparked interest among politicians in Britain and Canada.

The Republic is set to become the first country in the world to introduce such labels – including a warning about a link to cancer.

While there has been opposition among politicians in places like Italy – a major wine producer, others have contacted Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly looking to find out more about the initiative.

Records released by the Department of Health under the Freedom of Information Act show that Dan Carden, a Labour MP for Liverpool, and Mike Farnworth, the Deputy Premier of the Canadian province of British Columbia requested meetings with Mr Donnelly.

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Mr Carden told Mr Donnelly he had tabled an early-day motion in the House of Commons in support of the action taken by the Irish Government.

It also calls on the UK government “to follow Ireland’s leadership and introduce mandatory health labelling on alcohol products that informs consumers of the significant health risks, to help reduce soaring rates of alcohol harm in the UK”.

Very few early-day motions ultimately go to the floor of the Commons but Mr Carden told the Irish Times: “I am hoping to secure a debate on alcohol labelling after summer recess.” No arrangements have been made for Mr Carden to meet Mr Donnelly as yet.

[ Ireland’s alcohol warning plan may reduce range of wines available here, merchants say ]

[ Ireland set to become first country with mandatory health warnings on alcohol ]

Separately, the Canadian embassy contacted Mr Donnelly’s office on behalf of Mr Farnworth who is also British Columbia’s minister of public safety. It sought a meeting Mr Farnworth had hoped would take place during a planned trade mission to Ireland in early July.

Ultimately, Mr Farnworth did not travel to Ireland as his trade mission was cancelled.

However, he said last week: “As minister responsible for liquor sales in British Columbia, I am interested in learning about how liquor regulations in other jurisdictions can support the industry while also helping to keep people safe.”