Our friends over at Wine Business ran a piece yesterday (10/23) headlined, "Wine Industry Fires Back Against the WHO's Zero Safety." We read it, expecting to learn of some dramatic action by the bev/al industry – perhaps a study, perhaps an op-ed, perhaps a bill introduced in some legislative assembly.
We were disappointed. There was none of that. The conference was largely industry members talking among themselves. Frederico Falcão, president of ViniPortugal, said: “We need these kinds of events to know the facts and use these facts to defend ourselves from the people that attack us without any scientific knowledge.”
Well, we thought, surely one of the European alcohol giants has pushed back against the "Zero Safety" campaign launched by the World Trade Organization. Maybe they have but we didn't find any evidence that they did.
We did find a press release from the Glouscestershire Constabulary about a summer campaign to tackle anti-social behavior.
What we did find was a notice from the UK Office for Health Improvement & Disparities which "has launched a public consultation on updating labelling guidance for no and low-alcohol alternatives. The aim of updating the guidance it is increase substitution of alcoholic drinks with NoLo alternatives among people who drink above low risk levels."
Industry members talking to each other does not constitute "pushing back" against WHO anti-alcohol extremists. Holding a conference is nice as a way to coordinate action, to unveil new initiatives, etc. But pushing back would be to hold a press conference explaining why WHO is wrong; publicizing flaws in the studies anti-alcohol people are relying up; holding a press conference to note how many more people die from cardiovascular disease that from alcohol-related cancer.
There is substantial evidence that moderate consumption of alcohol – one or two glasses a day – is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease than the incidence of alcohol-related cancers.
To quote former Sen. Alan Simpson, "A charge unanswered is a charge admitted."