Responding to a recent MPs' report calling for a re-think of alcohol guidelines in the UK the Portman Group, a body representing the alcoholic drinks industry, has proposed "re-imagining" current Department of Health recommendations on maximum weekly alcohol consumption of 21 units into a promotion for “your healthful 3-a-day”.
“We’re just trying to look out for the British public,” said Dr Simon Greene, a Portman spokesman, “weekly limits sound so boring and ‘nanny state’ but our new campaign reflects modern hectic lifestyles. It can even be combined with the five-a-day fruit and veg targets. Why not try a strawberry daiquiri, or ‘get up and go!’ with a breakfast Bloody Mary?”
While the 3-a-day target has been enthusiastically embraced by supermarkets and many consumers, there has been some criticism that the campaign is wilfully misinterpreting government recommendations. “We recognise that the 3-a-day message is simplistic,” said Greene, “but in all our ads there is a clear footnote addressing concerns. It is important that the three units a day are from different sources, so three cans of Stella wouldn’t cover you – you need to think about throwing in a spirit, or maybe even a liquer, just to ensure the variety in your diet is there.”
There are also more vulnerable sections of society that need to be wary of taking the Portman campaign at face value, according to Greene.
“We’re a responsible organisation, and I’d like to stress that the guidelines as they stand are not intended for pregnant women. Expectant mothers really need to take into account the delicate growing human life they’re carrying when making decisions about alcohol intake. And remember that they’re now drinking for two.”