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Beadles anger over headlines about health warning labels

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jeremy Beadles, the chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), has hit out at headlines which claim that wine bottles are to carry a health danger on labels to curb binge drinking.

Last weekend, the Government launched an alcohol awareness campaign, Know Your Limits', designed to encourage 16- to 24-year-olds to drink responsibly and help drive behaviour change.

According to Beadles, a paragraph at the end of the Department of Health press release caught the attention of the national media and has turned a positive story into a story about Health Warnings on Wine Bottles.'

He told Harpers: This is nothing new - labels for beers, spirits and, to a lesser extent, wines, have carried sensible drinking messages and unit labels for some time now. We are working with the Government to agree a standard format so that consumers are able to recognise the information and suppliers and retailers can adopt an accepted format.

These labels are only a small part of what must be a wider government/industry alcohol education strategy and this is

the key objective of the new Drinkaware Trust.'

The campaign, which will cost 4 million, is part of the Government's Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy. Future elements of the campaign will target middle-aged and older people who regularly drink more than the recommended levels.

A Department of Health spokesman told Harpers: We are currently working with alcohol industry representatives to develop a range of sensible drinking messages and unit information that can be displayed on alcoholic drinks labels, at the point of sale and in alcoholic drinks promotions, on a voluntary basis. We expect to reach agreement on the format by the end of the year, and we hope that the labelling will be introduced over the next 12 to 18 months.'