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French wine industry outraged over temperance-driven cancer plan

By Vitisphere December 21, 2021
French wine industry outraged over temperance-driven cancer plan
This policy direction could ultimately lead to an end to European grants for developing the wine industry. - crédit photo : Europarl

aking the zero-risk policy to the extreme for cancer prevention has met with fierce opposition from the French wine industry. “This decision is a provocation, a declaration of war and a condemnation of our industry”, slammed Jean-Marie Fabre, chairman of the French independent winegrowers’ organisation. The casus belli he is referring to is the report rubber-stamped on December 9 by the European Parliament's special committee on beating cancer (BECA), which states in paragraph 11 that “alcohol consumption is a risk factor for many cancers, such as mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colorectal and breast cancer” and “recalls the World Health Organisation (WHO) study which recognises that when it comes to cancer prevention there is no safe level and stresses the need to take this into account when discussing and implementing cancer prevention policies”.

Though it has no legislative scope, the report is likely to enable the European Commission to base its proposals for a Community cancer plan on the political position of the European Parliament, which is due to take a stance in a plenary session at the beginning of 2022. “All the amendments that are problematic for the industry have been voted on by the committee. We will have to galvanise support during the plenary session, but it won't be easy”, warns Anne Sander, an MEP from Alsace.

No consumption means no production, which means dismantling a strategic sector for the European Union. It is a political choice that the Parliament, the Commission and the Council will have to take responsibility for”, warned Fabre, who called on each institution to show a sense of responsibility. “Cancer is a disease caused by multiple factors. These are simplistic analyses based on a partial study by the Lancet that reflect an ideological, dogmatic and utopian viewpoint”, adds the Fitou winegrower, condemning an absurd logic: “to avoid getting lung cancer caused by fine particles, the committee is capable of banning people from breathing in... It is a well-known fact that pleasure is a way of enhancing life expectancy. Let's build a policy of prevention and education”.


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