EU Commission rejects the wine nutrition facts
The European Commission has rejected the hypothesis of wine nutrition facts proposed in March 2017 by the wine industry.
A position that everyone defines as “incoherent”, as Federvini’s general manager Ottavio Cagiano de Azevedo says: “now the Commission must assess the document in detail and express an opinion. In case it was not convinced of the contents of the proposals, the Commission will present a normative proposal for the application of the regulation 1169/2011. It is clear that the solicitation to evaluate self-regulation proposals must also find a balance with the different provisions already existing for some categories of alcoholic beverages: wines are subject to the most complex of regulations, which is why the legal service (and not the Commission) expressed some criticisms of the project. The European associations, and with them the national associations, are evaluating these considerations to eventually integrate or better specify the self-regulation proposal.”
Wine producers request
In March 2017 the Commission asked the producers of alcoholic beverages to agree on a nutrition label, warning that if there were no results within a year, the Commission would have passed a specific regulation. One year after the association Spirits Europe, which represents 31 national associations, presented a joint proposal articulated on three elements:
- a label that includes the nutritional table;
- the complete list of ingredients;
- an indication of the type of process used.
The information can appear directly on the label or online, on a web page accessible by a barcode or a QR code printed on the label. Or again, both way.
The Commission asked to “calibrate” the nutrition table for 100 ml of product. Spirits Europe gave a positive opinion but asked to be able to provide the same indications also per portion. The difference is notable: if 100 ml can be few for a white wine, there are many for a vodka or a whiskey, which are usually served in 40 ml glasses.
The benefits of nutritional labeling
It is important to underline how Italy, but in general the EU, are so far behind compared to USA, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Russia, Mexico, Switzerland and New Zealand: all countries where nutritional facts on alcohol is already present from a long time ago. In 2013 the single text on European food labels was approved: regulation 1169/2011, in which no reference is made to alcoholic beverages.
In this case, indicate the number of calories present in an alcoholic beverage is a matter of transparency and public health: such drinks increase the risk of obesity and other diseases, so knowing the caloric intake can be a deterrent to limit consumption.
According to the Beuc, which brings together the main consumer groups of the old continent, showing this information is “essential, because Europeans can make informed choices about the amount of alcohol they want to consume.”
At the moment, only the producers know with certainty the caloric intake of their products, because the amount of sugar depends on how many there are in the musts and in the fermentation process. In dry wines, for example, almost all the sugar is turned into alcohol, while for the passito is the opposite way.
Wine, unmask sugaring after a nutritional label stop
European Union allows Central and Northern Europe countries to increase the gradation of wine by adding sugar, but this practice has been banned in Italy for over 50 years.
In addition, some European countries can sell pseudo-wine made from miraculous powders contained in wine-kits, which promise in a few days to obtain the most prestigious labels by adding water.
According to Coldiretti: “it is necessary to defend Italian producers and consumers all over the world from such improper practices. Furthermore, it is necessary to defend the primacy of Italian wine, which reached a record value of over 10.6 billion in 2017, mainly due to exports that have reached a maximum of 6 billion (+ 6%). On the other hand, sales in the domestic market grew by 4.6 billion, due to the increase in household consumption (+ 2%).
For more information: FEDERVINI: WINE NUTRITION FACTS