Susan N.

The makers of some of the country's favorite drinks -- such as Guinness and Heineken beers, Bacardi rum and Johnny Walker whisky -- are to introduce little bottle- or can-shaped icons on labels to show how many units of alcohol are inside. The British units system, promoted by the government, saves drinkers the hassle of multiplying the already clearly stated percentage of alcohol by the volume drunk to find out how much poison they are consuming, a complex task even when sober. The Department of Health, which will co-launch the labeling initiative next Wednesday, recommends that men drink a maximum of three to four units a day, and women two to three. An average bottle of wine holds nine units and a 330 ml can of five percent strength beer has 1.7 units. People drinking their pints in traditional pubs will still have to work out their intake themselves. A spokeswoman for Seagrams Distillers, owned by Canada's Seagram Co, said other companies involved included Diageo, Whitbread and Allied Domecq. Only Australia has a similar scheme whereby bottles and cans are labeled according to how many standard drinks they hold.

funniness: 2.85

rating: PG