The regulation of labelling of alcoholic beverages (< 1,2% alcohol) has always been a struggle for the European legislator. Since the early days alcoholic beverages were ‘out of line’ with other foods where labelling was concerned.

With the adoption of the food information to consumers regulation 1169/2011 (FIC-regulation) no real change was made, as alcoholic beverages were exempted from the mandatory indication of the list of ingredients and of the nutrition declaration. The FIC-regulation does (in Article 16(4)) provide for an obligation for the Commission to adopt a report concerning the labelling of ingredients and nutrition. This report was adopted yesterday.

The report of the Commission identifies an evolution of the way Member States, the industry and consumers view the labelling of alcoholic beverages. Despite the exemption of the FIC-regulation, several Member States (as well as third countries) have adopted additional requirements for mandatory labelling of alcoholic beverages. Also consumer studies indicated a growing interest of consumers in obtaining the exempted information. Simultaneously a number of industry initiatives prescribing voluntary provisions of this information is identified. This makes the Commission to conclude the further developed of current voluntary provision initiatives are preferable (to additional regulations)and that the industry has to come up with a self-regulatory proposal.

This industry proposal will have to be filed within a year (14 March 2018), after which the proposal will be reviewed by the Commission and it will decide whether the proposal is acceptable or whether it will continue to assess further regulation. The Commission leaves the initiative with the industry, and therefore takes another step in the evolution of alcoholic beverages labeling.

More info? Contact your regular Loyens & Loeff advisor, Victor van Ahee or Aude Mahy.