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Lynn Boylan MEP grills EU Health Commissioner on weak attitude to alcohol industry

26 April, 2016 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan was today in the European Parliament’s Public Health and Food Safety Committee to grill the EU’s health chief, Commissioner Andruikatis, on the EU’s lack of action to prevent alcohol harm.

Ms Boylan said:

‘The alcohol industry in Europe has lobbied very successfully for a hands-off approach from the Commission. From an industry which makes a product that causes over 1000 deaths every year in Ireland alone, this special treatment is inexcusable.

‘A loophole in EU food labelling legislation has granted alcohol an exemption from listing nutritional information and ingredients which leaves us in the bizarre situation where consumers can know what’s in their bottle of milk but not what’s in their bottle of wine. The Commission was due to come up with a report on how to move forward on this by 2014 but we are still waiting.

‘On top of this the EU Commission has failed to come up with a new alcohol strategy since 2012 prompting a mass walk-out from its stakeholder forum by health NGOs last year who claimed alcohol industry priorities were being placed above public health concerns.

‘With its long delays and lack of action the European Commission has been dragging its heels on tackling the alcohol industry head on. While Member States themselves have a duty to act to prevent alcohol harm the EU is missing low-hanging fruit by failing to act on simple measures such as alcohol labelling.

‘Special treatment and exemptions for alcohol products does not make sense. I pushed the Commissioner on this discrepancy and called for immediate action on this issue.’

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