ISBA hits out at medical campaigners’ calls for alcohol brands to label calorie counts more clearly

Drinkaware 2013 campaign

ISBA has criticised medical campaigners’ calls for alcohol brands to label calorie counts more clearly, adding that the approach confuses binge drinking and obesitiy messages and "spectacularly" misses the point.

Earlier today the BBC reported that the obesity lobby's calls for more calorie labelling on alcohol, with the Royal Society for Public Health stating that the majority of people are “blissfully unaware” of the high calorie count in alcoholic drinks.

However, ISBA director of public affairs Ian Twinn has moved to defend alcohol producers for their efforts in promoting responsible drinking via the Portman Group.

“Both obesity and excessive alcohol consumption are real issues that government have a stake in.

“The trouble with the claims by the medical campaigners and the pressure group activists is that they fail to see the whole picture. Calls for yet more information on labels misses the point rather spectacularly.”

Alcohol producers have supported the Drink Aware campaigns via the Portman Group, which has “consistently focused the public’s mind on responsible drinking”, according to Twinn.

Although understanding the amount of alcohol and its effect is important for all people to be aware, today’s PR campaign from the obesity lobby “confuses” the binge drinking and obesity messages, according to Twinn.

“Surely doctors and public health officials need to wonder why people do not understand the blindingly obvious that most food and drink will make us fat if we have too much and do not follow a balanced diet. Campaigns to make us aware of this simple fact would be a lot more effective than hectoring campaigns against consumers and businesses,” he added.

The drinks industry has reportedly stated it was open to the idea of calorie labels, but that it has previously focused on labelling drinks with units of alcohol - deeming that more important.

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