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What is a Drink? Standard Alcohol Labelling for Consumers

July 22, 2015

OPHA Alcohol Prevention Workgroup – Public Health Ontario’s recent report Focus On: Standard Alcohol Labels provides an overview of standard alcohol labelling and current work on this topic in Canada.  The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), in partnership with the National Alcohol Strategy Advisory Committee (NASAC), also released the report “What is a Drink? Communicating Drink Information to Consumers”.  This report includes recommendations around the use of standard drink labels in Canada.

With the exception of alcoholic beverages, the use of standard product labels to provide health-related information about food and beverages is now widespread in Canada. Labels which provide standard drink information can help people who choose to drink make informed choices and better support responsible alcohol consumption in line with Canada’s Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines; much more so than current percentage of alcohol information1. The CCSA report offers evidence based recommendations on what information drink labels should contain, how such programs can be successfully launched, and examples of existing programs in Australia, New Zealand, and England. They invite alcohol beverage manufacturers, retailers, and licensed establishments to pilot the use of standard drink labels and other ways of communicating drink information.

The OPHA Alcohol Workgroup applauds the work of both PHO and CCSA on this topic and supports further efforts to implement standard alcohol labelling in Canada. This has been identified by the work group as a potential area for advocacy in 2016.

For more information:
1Osiowy, M., Stockwell, T., Zhao, J., Thompson, K., & Moore, S. (2015). How much did you actually drink last night? An evaluation of standard drink labels as an aide to monitoring personal consumption. Addiction Research and Theory23(2), 163–169. link
Video: How much did you drink last night – summarizes the study above:
Infographic: How should we label our alcohol?