Voluntary compliance fail: Pregnancy warning labels soon to be mandatory

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 15th October 2018

PREGNANCY warning labels will be mandatory on alcohol products under a deal agreed by Australian and New Zealand ministers last week.

The alcohol industry has applied pregnancy warning labels on a voluntary basis since late 2011.

But ministers responsible for food regulation who met in Adelaide say it needs to go further, amid evidence that babies exposed to alcohol in the womb can face intellectual, behavioural and developmental disabilities.

The label, which is to be developed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand in consultation with industry, will include a pictogram and warning statement.

Brewers Association chief Brett Heffernan said key players in the industry recognised the current 75 per cent compliance rate under the voluntary system was not good enough.

“Our members – Carlton & United Breweries, Lion Beer Australia and Coopers Brewery – have been 100 per cent compliant with the voluntarily labelling regime since 2014, applying the warning pictogram across every product they produce,” he said.

“We are perplexed as to why others in the industry failed to heed the writing on the wall since 2012.”

The Brewers Association will seek to have the DrinkWise Australia warning be made the standard.

Research has shown 74 per cent of women aged 18-40 are aware of the warnings on drink labels.

A deadline for the introduction of mandatory compliance will now be worked on, involving a consultation period about transition timelines.

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