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Food Safety

Labelling of alcoholic beverages in the EU: some facts

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 includes the obligation to provide the list of ingredients and nutrition declaration.

Alcoholic beverages containing more than 1.2% by volume of alcohol are exempted from the mandatory listing of ingredients and nutrition declaration.

Nonetheless, the Regulation requests the Commission to adopt a report addressing whether alcoholic beverages should be covered by the requirement to provide the list of ingredients and the nutrition declaration, and the reasons justifying possible exemptions.

13 March 2017: the Commission adopted a report to the European Parliament and the Council regarding the mandatory labelling of the list of ingredients and the nutrition declaration of alcoholic beverages. This report is based on data collected by the Commission through Member States and stakeholders consultations.

4 April 2017: the report was presented to stakeholders in the context of a meeting of the Advisory Group on the Food Chain, Animal Health and Plant Health. For more information on this, please refer to the minutes of the meeting.

12 March 2018: the alcoholic beverage industry submitted a self-regulatory proposal to the Commission and presented it to Commissioner Andriukaitis.

The self-regulatory proposal consists of:

Following the submission of the industry self-regulatory proposal, a series of bilateral dialogues with the sectors took place to encourage them to improve the level of their commitment.

4 June 2019: At the SpiritsEUROPE Annual Congress in Paris, representatives of the spirits’ industry signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the labelling of spirits drinks in which they commit over the coming years, to provide the energy value on label and the list of ingredients off label. In addition to spiritsEUROPE, six companies signed individually as well as 4 national associations (Spain, Poland, Ireland, the Netherlands).

4 July 2019: Commissioners Andriukaitis and Hogan sent a letter to the spirits’ sector, welcoming the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding and encouraging industry to start implementing it as soon as possible for the benefit of consumers.

5 September 2019: the Brewers of Europe and its members (37 initial signatories, including 25 national brewers’ associations) signed a Memorandum of Understanding and committed, through a Brewers’ Ambition, to labelling ingredients and energy values on all beer bottles and cans in the EU by 2022.

27 September 2019: Commissioner Andriukaitis sent a letter to the beer sector, welcoming the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding and the Brewers’ Ambition and encouraging the beer industry to become the gold standard when it comes to industry commitments to labelling.

The European Commission adopted the “Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan” on 3 February 2021. The plan announces that the Commission will propose to introduce the mandatory indication of the list of ingredients and the nutrition declaration on labels of all alcoholic beverages.

For further information see Proposal for a revision of the Regulation of Food Information to Consumers (FIC)

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