West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas has joined almost 100 other signatories in writing to the Health Secretary calling for better alcohol labelling.
In all, 94 academics, leading figures from public health organisations and Parliamentarians signed the letter to Matt Hancock ahead of a Government consultation on the issue.
Alcoholic drinks are currently only required to display the volume and strength (in ABV) and common allergens. Information on nutritional values (including calories), ingredients, health warnings or the number of units of alcohol the product contains is not required and is therefore largely absent from labels.
Mr Thomas said: “It’s important that people are informed about what is in their drinks. We are expected to make decisions about our health by reading the nutritional information displayed on food and soft drink labels, so why should alcohol – a product linked to 80 deaths a day - continue to be exempt?
“For those who drink, alcohol accounts for nearly 10% of the daily calorie intake, with around 3.4 million adults consuming an additional days’ worth of calories each week – totalling an additional two months of food each year.”
As well as calorie labelling, Mr Thomas also believes there should be health warnings on labels, including drink driving and pregnancy warnings, as studies suggest that this could help prompt behaviour change.”
New research suggests that the general public would back Government plans to include nutritional and health information on alcohol products.
A new poll from YouGov asked the public what legal requirements they would like to see for alcohol labelling. The majority of those asked supported more information being included on labels including:
- 75% of people want the number of units in a product on alcohol labels
- 61% of people want calorie information on alcohol labels
- 53% of people want the amount of sugar on alcohol labels.