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Mandatory alcohol labelling to protect health

17 August 2011 - 4:37pm

A number of health agencies have united in a move to label alcoholic beverages with evidenced-based warnings about the dangers of excessive consumption.

Todd Harper, chief executive officer of the Cancer Council of Australia, believes that mandatory labelling would help reduce the negative side effects of alcohol across all demographics.

Harper asserts: "In 2011 consumers deserve a better deal. A carton of milk contains more nutritional information than most alcohol products, and there is no information at all about the links between alcohol and cancer."

In addition to the Cancer Council, the call for labels comes from a coalition of VicHealth, The Heart Foundation, The Australian Drug Foundation and Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre.

Mr Harper believes that there is a profound lack of education about the link between alcohol and cancer.

"A recent review of the evidence found that alcohol consumption is responsible for over 5,000 cancers in Australia each year, including one in five breast cancers. Yet when surveyed, just nine per cent of Victorians could name alcohol as a risk factor for cancer," said Mr Harper.

Alcoholism can result in a number of debilitating conditions and some private health insurance companies can provide benefits for consultations with a psychologist.