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Lack of health labeling for alcohol: - A betrayal to consumers


Inger Lise Hansen

19.09.2023 - New research indicates a sharp increase in cancer cases among the young. Poor diet, obesity, alcohol consumption, smoking, and inactivity are largely blamed.


Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Zhejiang University in China have found that the proportion of individuals under 50 diagnosed with cancer has risen by 79.1% from 1990 to 2019. Similarly, the proportion of individuals in this age group who die from it has increased by 27.7%.


What's in the bottle?

The mention of alcohol as a cause of cancer does not surprise the Secretary-General of Actis, Inger Lise Hansen. She believes Norwegians need more information on the harmful effects of alcohol, emphasising the urgency of introducing health labels on alcoholic beverages.


"All food and drink sold in Norway must have content labelling and nutritional information – except for alcohol. This can't be the case. It's a betrayal to consumers that in 2023 we still don't know what we're drinking and the risk we're exposing ourselves to," says Hansen.


People are unaware

It's documented that alcohol increases the risk for over 200 non-communicable diseases from the first glass. However, few are aware of the connection between alcohol consumption and cancer. This was also confirmed by a Sentio survey conducted in 2020 on behalf of Actis. It showed, for instance, that 68.1% of the population barely or don't at all associate breast cancer with alcohol consumption, even though this link is well documented in research.


The Department is dragging its feet

Inger Lise Hansen says that Actis has long argued that alcohol should be labelled with content, nutritional information, and health warnings. The Ministry of Health and Care Services has finally started addressing the issue. However, for now, all that is happening is that reports are being sent back and forth between the Health Directorate and the Ministry of Health and Care Services.


"That's not enough. We believe the health authorities are dragging their feet and must pick up the pace," says Hansen.


She believes that the exemptions the alcohol industry has secured for labelling their products severely violate consumer rights.


More knowledge about alcohol is needed in the population

"We have good tools in Norway to prevent alcohol damage, such as tax levels, serving times, and advertising bans," continues Inger Lise Hansen. "But we need more knowledge in the population. The issue of health labelling for alcohol is too important to be left on the table by the Health Directorate."


Actis believes: Alcohol should be labelled with:

  • Calories

  • Nutritional content/additives

  • Health warnings

Source: Actis

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