Spain backtracks after ‘no wine or beer with lunch’ restaurant ban sparks anger – Reuters
The Spanish government has faced backlash after announcing a new health strategy that suggested working with restaurants to reduce alcohol offers with meals
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Spain has made a U-turn after suggesting bars and restaurants reduce their alcohol intake with meals to encourage a healthier lifestyle.
Several areas erupted in anger amid claims that bars and restaurants would be banned from offering glasses of wine or beer with meals and generally cut back on alcoholic offerings.
It comes after the Health Ministry announced a new strategy on Wednesday to promote fresh foods in a bid to reduce heart disease – the leading cause of death in the country.
A row erupted after the original document sparked fury over one particular phrase.
He suggested “working with food service establishments to promote the Mediterranean diet as a model for heart-healthy eating, not including alcohol consumption.”
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Community of Madrid president Isabel Díaz Ayuso uploaded a photo of a glass of wine to her Twitter account in response, prompting thousands of responses.
She writes: “A good wine like the one that the gentlemen of the government want us to ban.
Opposition councilors in regions such as La Rioja and Castilla-La Mancha also demanded a change to the final wording of the document.
Shortly thereafter, the Ministry of Health eliminated references to alcohol in the final text of the National Health System’s Cardiovascular Health Strategy.
The final document approved on Wednesday includes a paragraph that proposes collaboration “with catering establishments to promote the Mediterranean diet as a model of heart-healthy eating.”
But it no longer includes any reference to alcoholic beverages.
Health officials said: “The strategy sets out recommendations for healthy habits and does not contemplate any bans of any kind.
“Therefore, it is wrong that drinks such as wine or beer are going to be eliminated from daily menus.”
The National Health System’s Heart Health Strategy hopes to improve the nation’s heart health and promote healthier lifestyles.
Its strategy includes promoting physical activity, tackling junk food, regulating food advertising and reducing the cost of healthier local ingredients.
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It also encourages “regulating the presence and content of food and beverages” in cafes, vending machines and all educational centers so that the majority offer “healthy products and non-alcoholic beverages”.
Julián Pérez-Villacastín, president of the Spanish Society of Cardiology, told Spanish newspaper Sur.es: “It is a project that focuses on the prevention, which is fundamental, of the pandemic of heart problems.”
He would have been in favor of limiting the consumption of alcohol but not of prohibition.