Quebec to ban high sugar, alcohol drinks from grocery, convenience stores
The Quebec government will move to ban sales of sugary, high-alcohol beverages in convenience (dépanneurs) and grocery stores.
Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux will introduce an amendment to his bill seeking to modernize the province’s alcohol and gaming legislation.
The new rules would apply to beverages that contain more than seven per cent alcohol and make them available only at Quebec liquor commission outlets.
“(These products) are a kind of a bait because young people drink that and they don’t even feel the alcohol within the product because of the high level of sugar,” Coiteux said.
The measure would come into effect after the law is adopted by the end of the current parliamentary session in June.
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It comes amid calls for government action following the death of 14-year-old Athena Gervais, who reportedly consumed such a product last month before vanishing.
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She was found dead in a stream behind her high school in Laval on March 1.
Montreal La Presse reported she had been drinking stolen cans of FCKD UP, a sweetened, malt-based alcoholic beverage with an 11.9 per cent alcohol content — the equivalent of four drinks.
The company has since ceased production of the beverage.
“The tragic death of Athena is certainly something that’s shaken everybody here in our society,” Coiteux said.
“Now that we are aware, we have the obligation to take action, that’s what they did,” said CAQ leader, François Legault.
While the minister’s amendments got a nod from the CAQ, Quebec Solidaire (QS) said the government ignored warnings from doctors and the non-profit organization, Educ’Alcool until it was too late.
“The government of Quebec waited for some tragedy to happen, before acting,” said QS MNA, Amir Khadir.
Coiteux said Quebec will maintain pressure on Health Canada, which is reviewing various products on the market with Quebec authorities and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to assess their safety.
© 2018 The Canadian Press