The Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) is calling on the UK government to make it a legal requirement for alcohol companies to display nutritional information and health warnings on products.
This follows pleads by campaigners claiming alcohol labelling is failing customers by leaving “vital” information such as ingredients and sugar levels off most packaging.
Currently, in the UK, alcoholic drinks are only required to display their alcoholic strength by volume (ABV) and common allergens on labels.
Information on nutritional values, including calories and sugar content, ingredients and health warnings are not required.
However, according to a survey of 369 alcohol products, the AHA found some 6% displayed the sugar content and 20% provided the full list of ingredients.
Some 42% stated the calorie content and only 5% provided full nutritional information.
According to the survey, 65% of products included the up-to-date chief medical officer’s drinking guidelines, with 29% not displaying any guidelines and 6% showing old or foreign guidance.
“Alcohol’s continued exemption to the rules and standards followed by the rest of the food and drinks industry is detrimental to our health,” AHA chairman Professor Sir Ian Gilmore said.
“Alcohol is not only a risk factor for cancer but it’s fuelling obesity – with some alcoholic drinks containing more calories than a Mars bar and others containing more than double your recommended daily sugar intake.
He added: “Given the choice, most alcohol producers are leaving this vital information off the labels, keeping consumers in the dark about what’s in the products they are drinking.
“Those who profit from the sale of alcohol cannot be trusted to willingly provide product information. Legislation on alcohol labelling must ensure that consumers have the full picture of the contents and risk to health of the products they buy through government making clear labelling on all alcohol products a legal requirement.”