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Wine labels will only recommend ‘responsible drinking’

European Parliament rejects proposal for stickers to warn of possible cancer-related illness

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16 February 2022 04:03 PM

by

ACN | Brussels

The European Parliament (EP) has backtracked and will not warn of possible cancer-related illnesses on wine labels. On Wednesday, the chamber published Tuesday’s votes: the majority had voted against the proposal which will be modified and will label alcoholic drinks with "responsible drinking" text instead of a "health warning."

The initial report, recommended by a parliamentary committee, has been rejected as 392 members of the European Parliament (MEP) voted in favor of the amendment asking for a "responsible drinking" tag.

Catalan political forces were divided in the voting as the People’s Party (PP), Ciudadanos (Cs), and the Socialist Party (PSC) voted in favor. While anti-austerity En Comú Podem (ECP) abstained and pro-independentist party Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) voted against it. 

The final wording, with the already passed amendments, will be voted upon on Wednesday afternoon and sources expect the report to pass, Catalan News Agency (ACN) was told.

The proposal is part of the European plan to fight cancer (Europe's Beating Cancer Plan), which recommends aspects to be improved upon in the European Union (EU), such as a joint program to buy medication, or guaranteeing equal access to treatments across the union.

Politicians defend worried winegrowers

Despite the medical proposals, the one that has generated controversy is that which intends to label wine as dangerous for health.

The proposal worried winegrowers and Catalan politicians. 

The Mediterranean diet expects a "moderate consumption of wine” and wine "provides a healthy diet," PP MEP Dolors Montserrat said on Tuesday ahead of the vote.  

Other politicians, such as Cs Jordi Cañas, said that labeling wine as carcinogenic will "stigmatize" the drink that is "part of a culture, gastronomy, and way of social interaction," before adding that institutions should recommend "responsible consumption and bet on informing citizens."    

ERC’s Jordi Solé took a similar approach, saying that it is not correct to relate wine consumption to cancer without "specifying the levels and habits of consumption."

Wineries celebrate the change

Catalan winegrowers have welcomed the news after the EP rejected tagging wine drinks with a "health warning" sticker.

The secretary-general of the Catalan Winery Association, Toni Cruces, said that "in a bottle of wine there is 80% of water and other minerals" and alcohol is part of the natural fermentation.

The Catalan Cava Origin Denomination has also welcomed the news despite the sector already labeling their bottles recommending responsible consumption since 2013.

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  • Winegrowers can breathe a sigh of relief as their bottles are not going to be tagged with a “health warning” sticker (by EBS)

  • Winegrowers can breathe a sigh of relief as their bottles are not going to be tagged with a “health warning” sticker (by EBS)

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