The Right to be Informed

On March 15, 1962, President John F.Kennedy presented a speech to the United States Congress in which he extolled four basic consumer rights, later called the Consumer Bill of Rights. The United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection expanded these into eight rights and thereafter Consumers International adopted these as a charter and started recognising March 15 as World Consumer Rights Day.

The second of the 4 basic rights is the right to be informed. The right states that businesses should always provide consumers with enough appropriate information to make intelligent and informed product choices. Product information should always be complete and truthful.

Source; Wikipedia

So the consumer has a right to know.

Most businesses comply with the Guidelines responsibly, particularly in the food and drink category, which is fundamental to health and well-being. If you buy a pack of yogurt or a bottle of water there will be analysis of the nutritional information on the label. There is one exception.

Advertising and marketing communications for alcohol products does not mention alcohol or give any information directly to the consumer, either in advertising or on pack. For a toxic drug like alcohol the only reference on the bottle or can is “alc. 4.5% by vol.” in the case of beer. The word “alcohol” is not mentioned in advertising. Instead you will see ” Drink …….sensibly, visit drinkaware.ie, or .co.uk” So the consumer has to go to another source to get essential¬† information on alcohol.

It is hard to reconcile this situation of providing the consumer with little or no information on alcohol, with the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection.

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