On May 7 2015, Lithuania notified a draft law to amend its national Law N° I-857 on Alcohol Control, namely article 9 of the Law, dealing with labelling of alcoholic drinks:
“Each alcoholic drink item packaged for sale must be labelled with graphic warnings about the harm caused to pregnant women by alcohol, in compliance with the provisions established by the institution to which the Government of the Republic of Lithuania shall so delegate”
The draft indicates that, in case there is no objection by Member States during the next 3 months, the new labelling information would be required from 1 November 2016 in Lithuania. This means that if this law is passed, all alcoholic beverages sold in Lithuania will need to be labelled accordingly.
No detail on the format of the logo has been suggested by law, stating that the provisions of the graphical warning would be defined by an institution to which this task will be delegated by the state.
EU: Information to Consumers
The Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 (or EU FIC) establishes a legal framework in the European Union with regard to information related to foodstuffs provided to consumers by food business operators at all stages of the food chain. However, labelling rules for alcoholic beverages were left out of the scope of the Regulation. The European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for a new EU Alcohol Strategy for 2016-2022 in order to reduce negative impacts of alcohol consumption on health.
Currently, with Regulation (EU) 1169/2011, it is only mandatory to declare the actual alcoholic strength by volume if it contains more than 1,2 % by volume of alcohol and the nutrition declaration may be limited to energy only (no specific format is required). Food business operators are free to implement the full nutrition declaration as defined in Art.30.1 of Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 even though it is not mandatory for alcoholic beverages. Also, the Regulation does not address other specificities related to labelling of alcoholic beverages, like including health warnings for vulnerable categories – contrasting the obligatory warnings for allergies that have been included in the EU FIC. Presently, this is left to the national authorities to regulate by national laws if they deem necessary.
What does the public say?
Eurobarometer 2010 reports that overwhelming majority of the European Union population (79%) would agree with putting warnings on alcohol labels to warn pregnant women and drivers of the dangers of drinking alcohol.
Alcohol Labelling in EU Member States
The table below gives an overview of health warnings against the consumption of alcoholic drinks during pregnancy in EU Member States where such provisions exist: