Sir Martin Narey, Chairman of the Portman Group, the social responsibility body of UK alcohol producers, has called for better health advice to tackle alcohol harm.
About a third of the alcohol consumed in England is drunk by just 4 percent of drinkers and this is a worrying factor, he pointed out.
“If we are to discourage those drinking relatively modestly at the moment from drinking more and harming themselves and often those around them, we need health guidance which addresses the acute dangers of excessive drinking. We don’t have that at the moment,” he said during his inaugural address as Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University.
“Such guidance would certainly say that adults should seek to drink less than 14 units a week. It might also say that, occasionally, drinking a little more than this is unlikely to be dangerous. But it might warn you that regularly drinking much more than this is hazardous and is likely to lead to early death and a miserable quality of life along the way. Such guidance, effectively marketed, could do much to alleviate the harm, including harm to families, caused by those who drift into alcohol abuse,” he added.
Narey asked all large producers to join the Portman Group in its effort to remove potentially harmful products from the market.
“We could have done more, and done so more quickly, if more alcohol producers were as courageous and as responsible as the eight companies which currently fund us,” he said.
“I’m not being critical here of small producers who might genuinely not be able to afford to support us but there are large drinks producers in the UK who fail to support the only organisation which regulates their industry; which takes harmful products out of the market; and, through informal advice, stops the appearance of so many more. Frankly, those companies should be ashamed.”
The Portman Group is funded by its eight member companies: AB InBev UK; Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands UK; Carlsberg UK; Diageo GB; Heineken UK; Molson Coors Brewing Company UK; Pernod Ricard UK and Jägermeister UK.