Parliament's Social Affairs and Health Committee has rejected a proposal to permit the sale of 5.5% beers in regular retail outlets.
Health committee says no to stronger beer in supermarkets
The proposal is part of a package of changes to alcohol legislation that comes before the full house for a vote on Friday - writes yle.fi.
At present only beers with an alcohol content of up to 4.7% can be sold by shops other than the state Alko outlets.
In a statement on the proposed legislation, the Social Affairs and Health Committee took the position that permitting supermarket sales of stronger beers would have a significant impact on the availability and consumption of alcohol. Over half of all alcohol consumed in Finland is in the form of beer.
If Parliament approves the proposal, stronger beers will become available from more than 5,000 retail outlets nationwide, as compared to around 350 under current sales restrictions. This, the Health Committee argues, would boost consumption, adversely affect public safety, and increase social problems.
Online and distance selling - legal or not?
The Social Affairs and Health Committee also called on the government to clearly spell out its position on distance sales of alcohol.
The text of the proposed legislation does not contain a ban on online and distance selling, even though it is included in the government's list of reasons for bringing the bill before Parliament.
A vote taken by the Social Affairs and Health Committee did not get majority backing for a ban to be written into the law, but did approve a statement calling for clarification of the issue.
Committee chair Social Democratic MP Tuula Haatainen criticised the government for what she called a hasty approach that steamrolled rigourous preparation of the bill.
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