27th January 2010


A Labour MEP's campaign to ban Devon-produced Buckfast wine must not be allowed to succeed, south west Conservative MEP Ashley Fox said today.

Catherine Stihler, Labour MEP for Scotland, has urged the European Parliament's internal market committee to ban all alcoholic drinks which also contain caffeine. The powerful committee has in the past been responsible for banning seal products and for lowering the price of mobile phone roaming charges.

If such a proposal were passed, Buckfast Tonic Wine, which was first produced by Benedictine monks at Buckfast Abbey in the 1890s, would be outlawed across the EU.

Mr Fox said:

"This is the nanny state gone mad. Of course we need to find ways of encouraging more responsible drinking but a blanket ban aimed at one or two products will do very little to help and it will destroy years of Devon heritage. We need to target the people who drink alcohol irresponsibly and wreck people's lives, not the drinks they consume.

"Plenty of drinks contain alcohol and caffeine such as Vodka Red Bull and Irish coffee but it would be impossible to ban them. Buckfast wine has been unfairly singled out.

"We do need clearer labelling on alcoholic products so that consumers can make informed choices about the health effects of alcoholic drinks. Consumers, not politicians, should choose.

"Do people honestly think that if Buckfast wine is banned, hooligans will start drinking tea?"

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