It appears as though alcohol is never out of the British news, current worries about binge drinking and the myriad of health and social concerns that accompany it have long proved a discussion point on TV and in both broadsheets and tabloids. It is then hardly a surprise that a Private Members Bill should be brought forward to regulate the labelling of alcoholic drinks.
The Bill was brought forward by Lord Mitchell (Labour) and proposes that producers of alcoholic drinks should be responsible for displaying warnings regarding the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, particulary warning that even small amounts can have "serious consequences for the health of the baby". The Bill also stipulates the size of type on the warning in relation to the size of container.
Although the majority of people within the House of Lords supported the Bill it was pointed out the there was no scientific evidence that moderate drinking during pregnancy is at all harmful to mother or baby; and that many generations of healthy children have been born to mothers who have partaken in an occasional glass of wine. The second objection raised to the Bill concerned the aesthetics of any warning and it was claimed any such label would spoil a bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschilds.
Coupled with the current readings of this Bill in the House of Lords are recent Government announcements regarding voluntary schemes for alcohol labelling. The Department of Health announced a voluntary scheme to put health warnings, containing the amount of alcohol units contained in drinks on their labels. However industry reaction has been mixed with many figures stating that although there is a need for warning, that the drinks industry should not be held solely responsible, while others disagree on the wording contained in proposed labels.