WORLD FIRST: Ireland passes new law requiring health labelling on all alcohol products

WORLD FIRST: Ireland passes new law requiring health labelling on all alcohol products

IRELAND has become the first nation in the world to pass a law requiring alcohol products to carry health labelling.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly signed the new legislation requiring comprehensive health labelling of all alcohol products being sold in Ireland.

The law requires the labels to state the calorie content and grams of alcohol in the product.

They must also warn about the risk of consuming alcohol when pregnant and will also the risk of liver disease and fatal cancers from alcohol consumption.

The new law also states that similar health information must be made available for customers in licensed premises.

Although signed into law yesterday afternoon, there is a three-year lead in time built into the legislation to give businesses time to prepare for the change.

As such, the law will apply from May 22, 2026.

"This law is designed to give all of us as consumers a better understanding of the alcohol content and health risks associated with consuming alcohol,” Minister Donnelly confirmed.

“With that information, we can make an informed decision about our own alcohol consumption.

"Packaging of other food and drink products already contains health information and, where appropriate, health warnings. This law is bringing alcohol products into line with that."

Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton, added: "Everyone has a right to be told about the risks associated with a product before we consume it.

“This law is designed to ensure all consumers of alcohol have access to clear and concise information about the risks from alcohol.

"The medical evidence is clear that a cancer risk applies even at lower levels of alcohol consumption."

Regarding Ireland’s position as the first nation to enact such legislation around alcohol labelling, Minister Donnelly claimed he was hopeful they would “lead by example”.

"I welcome that we are the first country in the world to take this step and introduce comprehensive health labelling of alcohol products,” he said.

“I look forward to other countries following our example."

According to a report on alcohol and cancer published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) European Region in 2020, light to moderate drinking levels caused almost 23,000 new cancer cases in 2017; almost half of which were female breast cancers.