Alcohol industry needs guidelines

It seems that any self-regulation by alcohol industry must be properly implemented to make sure that citizens are better protected from the excesses of using and abusing alcohol.

Despina Spanou at the European Commission’s health and consumer protection directorate (DG Sanco) said that the forthcoming overhaul of its alcohol strategy will probably not come before the end of the year, but it will be on the Cypriot presidency agenda.  It will be preceded by an external report taking stock of how current alcohol strategies have been working – expected before end of this summer with a new or updated strategy finalised by the end of this year.

The Cypriot Presidency intend to focus on chronic diseases and the health determinants – including alcohol abuse – which contributes to them.  A high level conference on this issue in Sept. 2014 and Commissioner Dalli will attend. There was a strong call for a strategy in 2006 and little action at national level with the exception of Scandinavian countries.  There is now a great deal of activity to create more active mechanisms within national strategies, a committee of experts from the member states meeting several times a year, and we want to take this up to a higher political level. Now there are national actions, the Commission can identify ways of helping member states do more and help increase the number of member states taking action and inputtimg to the evaluation.

It will be interesting to see where and how self regulation works, for example, in encouraging industry to engage in advocacy relating to harmful drinking has produced results previously. A high percentage of stakeholders  acknowledge that the forum has created the impetus and two way dialogue to make this possible.

With marketing and advertising issues, civil society has been calling for regulationshowing that the level of trust is strained in many cases. Industry proposals recently announced a Responsibility Pact on advertising which will be interesting to see how well this could work. Regulation takes longer to introduce than self regulation.  Citizens require commitment and action from the alcohol industry.

Self regulation must deliver results and demonstrate it can work.  Labelling and warnings on bottles are expected  that the Commission will want to progress. …more

For background information see:
European Commission Alcohol strategies and documentation

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