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Irresponsible alcohol packaging to be identified

Published:  23 July, 2008

Drinks regulator the Portman Group has announced a comprehensive audit will be undertaken to identify irresponsible packaging in the industry.

It has appointed management consultancy PIPC to carry out a random audit of 500 beers, wines and spirits on sale in convenience stores, off-licences, and bars in several locations across the UK, as well as from online retailers.

PIPC will assess whether the packaging of drinks appears to comply with the Portman Group's Code of Practice.

Drinks companies whose products are considered to be potentially in breach of the code will have six months to change their marketing or face investigation by the Independent Complaints Panel, which has the power to remove drinks from sale.

There were seven complaints about potential breaches of the code in 2007, the Portman Group revealed today, five of which were upheld.

The group also fielded 226 written requests for pre-launch marketing advice.

Portman Group chief executive David Poley said the independent audit should help to strengthen public confidence in drinks marketing: "The industry is responding to public concern about alcohol misuse by making sure that its house is in order," he claimed.