Health Canada proposes to restrict the alcohol content of single-serve highly sweetened alcoholic beverages

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Alcohol & Drug Abuse News
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New proposal aims to protect youth from the risks posed by these products

OTTAWA, March 19, 2018 /CNW/ - The

Government of Canada is concerned about the health risks of single-serve highly sweetened alcoholic beverages whose alcohol content is between 7% and 12%. These beverages, which are sold in large-volume, non-resealable
containers, have colourful packaging, are inexpensive and are aggressively marketed in a manner that appeals to youth. The Government of Canada is taking action to reduce the risk that these products can pose to Canadians.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced that she has directed Health Canada to immediately take action in two areas to help reduce the risk these products pose to the health and safety of Canadians.

First, Health Canada will introduce a proposal for consultation to amend the Food and Drug Regulations to restrict the alcohol content of single-serve highly sweetened alcoholic beverages. This proposal, which is explained in a Notice of Intent (NOI), aims to restrict the amount of alcohol in single-serve highly sweetened alcoholic beverages by limiting the maximum size of the container or the alcohol content of the product. This proposal would affect all high-alcohol beverages sold in non-resealable containers that exceed a certain sweetness threshold, including those that contain artificial sweeteners. Health Canada is committed to reducing the risk of these products to Canadians' health and encourages industry and all interested parties to provide feedback on the NOI by May 3, 2018.

Second, Health Canada will convene a meeting in the coming weeks with provincial and territorial governments as well as key stakeholders to discuss collective measures, including on advertising, marketing, and labelling, to reduce the risks of these products. The NOI includes a call to action to industry stakeholders to engage in consultations and come forward with interim measures to reduce the risk that these products can pose to Canadians.

This proposal is not intended to capture liqueurs, dessert wines and other sweet alcoholic beverages sold in re-sealable containers.


"Protecting the health and safety of Canadians is a top priority for our Government. I am deeply concerned by the increasing availability and appeal of single-serve highly sweetened, high-alcohol beverages and by the increasing number of youth admitted to hospital after drinking these products. Accordingly, I have instructed my Department to take all necessary action to address this issue, through both regulations and consultations with provinces and territories as well as stakeholders. It is my expectation that industry will also come forward with interim measures to help us ensure the safety of young Canadians."

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas TaylorMinister of Health

Quick Facts

  • The prevalence of high-alcohol, large-format beverages on the Canadian market has increased dramatically in recent years. Many of these products are strongly flavoured and very high in sugar or sweeteners. This may cause people not to realize how much alcohol they are consuming.
  • Some of these products can contain as much alcohol as four glasses of wine.
  • Health Canada advises adults to be cautious if consuming such beverages and recommends that parents talk to their teens about the risks of drinking alcohol.

Associated Links

Notice of Intent


SOURCE Health Canada

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