Trade leaders have demanded a public correction from health minister Dawn Primarolo over claims the industry has reneged on its pledge to add unit information to drinks, writes Ewan Turney. A review of labelling, released last week, stated that 43% of drinks did not contain unit information and that legislation would be required to make producers do so. However, British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Rob Hayward said the methodology used was wrong and had tarnished the industry’s reputation. The BBPA wrote to Primarolo on behalf of the Gin & Vodka Association, National Association of Cider Makers, Scotch Whisky Association and the Wine & Spirit Trade Association. The report by Campden & Chorleywood’s sample survey weighted samples for the market share of that particular drinks category but did not apply a weighting to market share within that category. So, for example, an obscure Lithuanian lager without unit information, which sells a few thousand cases, was given the same significance as a market leading lager displaying unit information selling several million cases. Trade associations claim they warned the Department of Health twice about this methodology before the report was published. “It is unfortunate that the identified methodological flaws in the original specification for the project were not corrected,” said Hayward. “They have resulted in figures that significantly misrepresent the true scale of product that is sold in the UK market that carries unit and other labelling information. “It is also particularly disappointing that the media and others have been briefed on what is erroneous information, and the industry’s reputation tarnished as a consequence. “I am sure the Department of Health will want to investigate whether the appropriate analysis of the data can be undertaken in order to publicly correct any misleading impression conveyed about the industry’s performance in this area.”