(NewsReady.com) – There are a million jokes about Irish people enjoying alcohol, but it’s a real issue as the Republic of Ireland has a very high rate of alcohol abuse. Now, officials are trying to do something about the problem.
On May 22, the Department of Health announced Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly signed the Public Health (Alcohol) (Labelling) Regulations 2023, along with provisions of Section 12 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act, into law. According to a press release, the measures are the first of their kind in the world and require alcohol products to have comprehensive health labels on them.
While Ireland wants to take credit for the labels, America has its own on alcohol. Drinks that have more than 0.5% by volume are all labeled with a warning that lets consumers know the beverage can impair their ability to operate a motor vehicle, present a risk to pregnant women, and cause other health problems.
The new Irish labels will warn consumers about the risks of drinking while pregnant, its effects on the liver, and cancers associated with alcohol.
Minister Donnelly said the new law is intended to educate consumers about the health risks so that they “can make an informed decision about [their] own alcohol consumption.” Other products already have such labeling, the minister explained the new rule just ensures the drinks are in line with those other regulations.
Alcohol use while pregnant is associated with fetal alcohol syndrome in infants. The birth defects it causes in babies are not reversible, and it can severely damage their brains. Additionally, alcohol use can lead to cirrhosis or severe scarring of the liver. That prevents the organ from functioning correctly and can lead to death.
Hildegarde Naughton, another public health official, said that everyone deserves to be informed about the risks a product presents to their health before they consume it.
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