New consumer organisation, Drinkers’ Voice, has branded the government’s alcohol guidelines as being ‘dead in the water’ following the alcohol industry’s decision to take the Chief Medical Officers’ weekly guidelines off alcohol labels altogether.
Drinkers’ Voice has reported that the British Beer and Pub Association, Wine and Spirits Trade Association, National Association of Cider Makers and the Scottish Whisky Association have decided to not recommend to their members that they should display the weekly drinking guidelines on their products as part of their core alcohol labelling advice.
The guidelines, which were last year reduced from 21 units a week to 14 units for all drinkers, male or female, have sparked criticism from health specialists and industry representatives. The Chief Medical Officers, who are responsible for the guidelines, have also said that there is ‘no safe level’ of alcohol.
Drinkers’ Voice was set up to call for a more open debate about the link between alcohol, health and wellbeing, and represents moderate drinkers across the UK. It said it believes the industry’s decision to remove the guidelines from labels reflects a general mistrust of the Government’s advice on this important subject.
Byron Davies, Director of Drinkers’ Voice, said: ‘The Chief Medical Officers have received a double blow this week, as both consumers and industry have turned their backs on the drinking guidelines. People just don’t want to listen to the government when it comes to alcohol advice anymore.
“We are opposed to the guidelines, not least because they are among the lowest in Europe. There is little scientific evidence behind them and they have been discredited by many as being based on biased opinion and distorted statistics. They ignore the positive health benefits of moderate drinking and prescribe a ‘one size fits all’ approach to millions of drinkers across the country. That is totally inappropriate, and the reason why confidence in the Government’s health advisors has been seriously undermined.”
Drinks manufacturers were previously advised by their trade bodies to advertise the former alcohol guidelines as well as the units contained in the bottle. Under new advice, only the units in the drink will be displayed and drinkers will be advised to visit the Drinkaware website for further health information.
Davies, a former Conservative MP, added: “It would be irresponsible for the alcohol industry to suggest that these low guidelines are right for all drinkers. We are pleased that drinks manufacturers are taking a stand on this issue, and suggest that the Government would be well advised to consider the credibility of the advice that they have issued.”
Drinkers’ Voice is a newly-established campaigning organisation which represents drinkers across the UK. It is solely funded by individual donations and, whilst condemning alcohol abuse, is calling for a more open debate on the benefits and dangers of alcohol consumption. It believes that the influence of those who seek to place alcohol in the same category as tobacco, without any equivalent justification, should be reduced and that the public deserve to be given all of the information necessary for them to make informed judgements about what and when to drink.
Find out more about Drinkers’ Voice at drinkersvoice.org.uk
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