Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
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Italian wine producers slam Ireland’s 'alarmist' health warning labels

Ireland gets green light to label wine as dangerous.

Italian wine producers have objected strongly to Ireland's plan to require health warning labels on wine bottles, outlining the links between alcohol and fatal cancers, after the move was approved by the EU Commission.

Under plans by the Irish government, bottles of wine, beer and spirits sold in Ireland will have to carry health warnings listing links between alcohol consumption and cancer, similar to the system already in place on cigarette packets.

The warning labels will also state the dangers of liver disease from over-consumption and the risks of drinking while pregnant, reports The Irish Independent.

Italy's foreign affairs minister Antonio Tajani said Ireland's decision to place health warnings on Italian wine was "absurd" and did not take into account "the difference between moderate consumption and alcohol abuse".

The move was slammed as a "direct attack on Italy" by Coldiretti, the county's main agricultural lobby, which describes the labels as "alarmist" in a statement on its website.

Noting that Italy "is the world's leading producer and exporter with more than €14 billion in turnover, with over half coming from abroad", Coldiretti says the move by Dublin risks setting a "dangerous precedent" in the EU.

"It is completely improper to equate the excessive consumption of spirits, typical of the Nordic countries, to the moderate and conscious consumption of quality products with lower alcohol content such as beer and wine", reads the statement.

Coldiretti president Ettore Prandini said the EU is right to protect citizens' health but this "cannot be translated into simplistic decisions that risk unjustly criminalising individual products regardless of the quantities consumed".

Federvini, Italy's federation of producers, exporters and importers of wines, has called on the Italian government to take action "to oppose a rule that goes against common sense and reality".

In a statement of the Federvini website, president Micaela Pallini described Ireland's plan as "discriminatory and disproportionate" because "it does not distinguish between abuse and consumption."

Lamberto Frescobaldi, president of the Italian Wine Union (UIV), also slammed the move as "a dangerous step forward" that risks setting an "extremely dangerous precedent in terms of labelling alarmist messages on wine consumption".

This article was updated following the intervention of Italy's minister for foreign affairs.

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