Ireland is to become the first country in the world to mandate health labelling on alcoholic drinks to alert people to calorie content, grams of alcohol, risks of cancer and liver disease and dangers of drinking while pregnant.
The health minister, Stephen Donnelly, signed the legislation on Monday and said he looked forward to other countries following the example – a prospect that has worried Italy’s winemakers and people in several other EU member states.
The law would take effect from 22 May 2026 to give businesses time to adapt to a policy that mimics existing rules for other food and drink products, said Donnelly. “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.”
Hildegarde Naughton, the minister for public health, wellbeing and the national drugs strategy, said medical evidence showed even low levels of alcohol consumption incurred a cancer risk.