To the relief of wine makers across Europe, the EU has gone back from categorizing white wine as causing cancer.
© Getty Images
| The beat proposition would have seen wine, beer and spirits treated as carcinogenic.
After extreme lobbying, the European wine industry dodged a significant bullet today, as the European Parliament softened numerous sentences in a resolution that may have introduced the start of Restriction.
In the short term, European wines will not have to carry a caution label stating they cause cancer. However the more important long-term change is so little that non-native speakers may not fully understand the ramifications of the English variation. But they are huge.
A prior draft of a report from the Parliament’s Special Committee on Pounding Cancer (BECA) said that the World Health Organization “recognizes that there is no safe level of alcohol usage”. The modified draft that the Parliament authorized states that the WHO “acknowledges that the most safe level of alcohol consumption is none”.
This minor change in wording saves the day for white wine enthusiasts. BECA, basing its report on a now-disputed research study published in the Lancet in 2018, pushed for alcohol to be controlled just like tobacco. Imagine a wine world with punitively high taxes, restricted varieties of stores permitted to carry the product, no direct shipping, and every other anti-tobacco procedure. That scenario would have been the responsibility of the European Parliament to enact if it had actually ruled that alcohol and tobacco are similarly unsafe.
Brexit may have helped save the day. The UK has only a small wine market (though a huge whisky industry) and has seen a variety of governmental moves in the last few years meant to minimize intake of alcohol. But there are no longer any British members of the European Parliament.
The Parliament made a number of other small but crucial edits also. The major philosophical change is the addition of the word “harmful” in several essential locations, like this: “Harmful alcohol usage is a risk aspect for many different cancers.” Adding “harmful” implies that there can be alcohol intake that is “not hazardous”, and this is an extremely crucial distinction.
The original BECA report says “tobacco and alcohol intake, bad nutrition, a high body-mass index, an inactive lifestyle and environmental contamination are danger aspects common to other chronic diseases”. The Parliament added the word “harmful” prior to alcohol consumption, significantly altering the meaning.
When it comes to warning labels, the original report required “health warning labels”; that was edited to say that labels must consist of “moderate and responsible drinking info”, which may suggest something like the Australian labeling system; i.e.: “Consists of 8.5 basic drinks.”
Also gotten rid of from the resolution was a ban on alcohol business sponsoring sports occasions, which will bring a sigh of relief to sports leagues around the continent. This was altered to state that alcohol business should not sponsor events focused on minors.
“These changes are essential, as they clearly show that the European Parliament understands that white wine isn’t just a beverage, but an integral part of European culture, deserving of defense,” Pauline Vicard, executive director of London-based white wine research study company Areni Global, informed Wine-Searcher.
“This being stated, the simple reality that there was an initial BECA report, and all the conversations that followed, underlined the reality that we need to talk more about alcohol and health in our industry, and stop thinking that just alcoholics or severe abusers deal with health danger when it concerns white wine. We require to begin teaching the trade accordingly, to act responsibly, and show that we are worthy of this cultural exception. I am horrified at the truth that alcohol companies can still sponsor sport events, for instance. Acting properly would include smaller sized serving sizes being available. In numerous parts of Europe– and particularly the UK, the default serve is typically 250ml, which is a lot. Drinking in moderation should not be the duty of the consumers alone; we need to actively encourage it.”
The resolution passed 381-276. The resolution is non-binding, however the European Commission is arranged to evaluate its rules on alcohol labeling and taxation in 2023, and these couple of little changes in the report should be really prominent.
Dolors Montserrat, a former Spanish health minister and now a member of the European Parliament, informed The Daily Telegraph that the representatives had stopped “the effort to criminalize Cava, red wine and beer”.
“We decline the violent usage of alcohol, which is hazardous to health, and we safeguard the moderate usage of white wine and our well-known Mediterranean diet,” Montserrat said.
So celebrate with a beverage! Just make it a little one.
To join the discussion, talk about our social media channels.