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Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 (Sale and Supply of Alcohol Products) Regulations 2020 come into force

11th January 2021

Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 (Sale and Supply of Alcohol Products) Regulations 2020 come into force

The Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 (Sale and Supply of Alcohol Products) Regulations 2020 came into effect on 11 January 2021.

The Steering Group Report on a National Substance Misuse Strategy (NSMS) published in 2012 states that “alcohol has major public health implications and it is responsible for a considerable burden of health and social harm at individual, family and societal levels”. The Report contains a range of recommendations to reduce the consumption of alcohol in general. In October 2013, the Irish Government approved a comprehensive suite of measures to reduce excessive patterns of alcohol consumption and resultant social, economic and health harms as set out in the NSMS including the drafting of a Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

Guidance can be found HERE


Food Labelling Services comments:

The Irish Public Health (Alcohol) Bill was signed into law on Wednesday 17 October 2018 by Ireland’s President, Michael D Higgins.

 The bill applies to ‘alcohol products’ which by definition from section 73 of the Finance Act 2003 means, beer, wine, other fermented beverage, spirits or intermediate beverage. An intermediate beverage means any beverage other than beer, wine, or other fermented beverage, the alcoholic content of which is at least partly of fermented origin and which—

(a) in the case of a still beverage exceeds 10% vol,

(b) in the case of a sparkling beverage exceeds 13% vol,

and which in either case does not exceed 22% vol;

Although food products are not directly caught up in the regulations, they are affected by the advertising and promotion of alcohol products. Therefore, a Beef and Guinness Pie or Baileys Ice Cream should declare the mandatory warnings as required under the advertising and marketing section of the Act.

The Bill includes a number of reform packages which can be broadly summarised into four main areas:

a. Mandatory health labelling on all alcohol products;

b. The regulation of advertising, marketing and sponsorship of alcohol products and brands;

c. The introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol products;

d. The introduction of structural separation of alcohol products in trading outlets.


The mandatory labelling of alcoholic products will be phased in over 3 years from the date of signing of the Act.


All alcoholic products should declare the following mandatory warnings on the labels:

         i.            a warning of the dangers of alcohol consumption

       ii.            a warning of the dangers of alcohol consumption when pregnant

     iii.            a warning of the direct link between alcohol and fatal cancers

     iv.            the quantity of alcohol in g in the product

       v.            the energy in kJ and kcals in the product

     vi.            details of a dedicated website which will be established by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to provide public health information on alcohol consumption.


It is indicated that there will be a prescribed format for these warnings with respect to size, colours and font type. The specific form (i.e., size, colour and font) of the health warnings and the manner in which details of the HSE website must be displayed are not yet clear, nor is it clear when this information will be available. It is expected that the Minister for Health will adopt secondary legislation on these aspects.


Energy values are to be calculated using the Energy conversion factors detailed in Annex XIV of the Food Information Regulations (EU) 1169/2011. These are 29kJ and 7kcal per g of alcohol. 


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