Brussels, 10 December 2021 – CEEV is puzzled by yesterday’s vote on the own-initiative report in the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA), which associates alcohol consumption, in any amount, with increased cancer risks. This fails to recognise the vast body of accepted scientific evidence which shows that moderate consumption of wine, as part of a healthy lifestyle, is associated with positive health outcomes.
To see the BECA Committee adopting policy recommendations based on a single study which has been openly criticised by the scientific community because for its analytical flaws and clear lack of consideration of lifestyle factors, is disappointing.
Scientific evidence shows clearly that drinking wine in moderation, especially in the context of a Mediterranean diet and as part of a healthy lifestyle, can contribute to greater life expectancy and a lower incidence of major illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Studies have also shown that cancer risk cannot be evaluated in isolation and lifestyle factors need to be taken into account. Associating any and all alcohol consumption with increased cancer risk is therefore misleading.
There is clear evidence that regular heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages and binge drinking patterns are associated with increased morbidity and mortality from certain cancers. The focus needs to be on tackling harmful consumption; demonising alcohol as such is neither evidence-based nor productive.
CEEV has long been committed to promoting responsible consumption through its Wine in Moderation programme. We are convinced that the right approach to tackling harmful consumption is through the valorisation of moderate consumption as part of a varied, balanced, healthy diet and lifestyle. Wine is integral to the Mediterranean Diet, listed as Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. More broadly, wine is part of conviviality across much of Europe. And we know that conviviality – literally sharing a meal together – is a major factor in good diets and wellbeing. It makes no sense from any perspective, including public health, to regulate that away.
Download: CEEV Brief on Wine consumption and Cancer Risk (2021-12-07)
NOTE TO EDITORS
- Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV – www.ceev.eu) represents the wine companies in the industry and trade in the European Union: still wines, aromatised wines, sparkling wines, liqueur wines and other vine products. It brings together 24 national organisations and its members produce and market the vast majority of quality European wines, with and without a geographical indication, and account for over 90% of European wine exports.
- To consult all relevant scientific evidence, see Wine Information Council scientific document: ‘Wine consumption in the context of a healthy lifestyle and cancer risk’.
- Dr Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, CEEV Secretary General, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile: +32 (0)476 88 36 75