Pubs and bars face further restrictions on the sale of alcohol after a damning report by KPMG for the Home Office and Department of Health.
The Government commissioned report accuses the on-trade, and wider drinks industry, of not adhering to its agreed voluntary standards.
It calls for mandatory, rather than voluntary, retail code to be introduced.
Under the report proposals, retailers of alcohol would, by law, have to offer drinks in small as well as large measures and train staff to recognise and refuse alcohol to drunk or under-age customers.
The proposals also recommend that happy hours and other "irresponsible" drinks promotions be restricted.
Information on the units of alcohol per drink should be provided at the point of sale and drinks manufacturers must put warnings and advice on bottles by the end of the year, urge the authors.
KPMG claims that since the introduction of voluntary unit information on drinks in 1998, 43% still do not contain any information with just 3% meeting the full requirements.
Public Health Minister, Dawn Primarolo, said: "The drinks industry has a vital role to play if we are to change the country's attitudes to alcohol. Some sections of the industry are sticking to the voluntary codes, others are blatantly ignoring them.
"This consultation will decide whether legally binding regulations for retailers and manufacturers to promote sensible drinking are the way forward."
The consultation on mandatory codes for the retail of alcohol will run until October.
Mark Hastings, director of communications at the British Beer & Pub Association, said: "This seems to be a classic example of the Government's tendency towards announcing new laws, rather than enforcing existing ones.
"There are plenty of laws and regulations to deal with irresponsible pubs and people. All agencies, including local government and the police should first focus on how to ensure these are enforced with greater rigour and consistency."
By Christopher Walton
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