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France aims to 'water down' Europe's plan to combat cancer and alcohol, with wine

By Vitisphere January 14, 2022
France aims to 'water down' Europe's plan to combat cancer and alcohol, with wine
The wine industry fears that the report could jeopardise the Community support it receives. - crédit photo : Vin & Société
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egarding the health risks associated with consumption of alcoholic beverages, “the European Parliament's special committee [on the Beating Cancer plan] has adopted positions that go beyond those that we have always advocated. And which are in fact positions that I believe everyone agrees with”, said France’s Minister of Agriculture, Julien Denormandie, as he presented his New Year wishes to the press on 4 January. The Beating Cancer (BECA) report, which was adopted on 9 December 2021 in Brussels, draws on a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to show that there is no safe level of drinking that does not come with the risk of promoting the onset of cancer. The BECA Committee “stresses that alcohol consumption is a risk factor for many cancers, such as mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colorectal, breast...” 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”.

This temperance-driven stance is causing uproar within the wine industry, in France in particular and Europe in general. “Since then, we have engaged considerably with MEPs to ensure that when the report is voted on (in February), they can adopt a position that, I hope, will restore proper balance”, explained Julien Denormandie, adding that “for my part, and with my colleague Olivier Véran [Minister of Health], we have worked a lot with MEPs to ensure that this is the way forward. Democratic voting will then do the rest”.

 

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