Inaction, confusion and lack of direction has led to doubts about the federal government’s commitment to introduce mandatory pregnancy health warnings for all alcohol by December next year.
The alcohol industry has written to the Australian and New Zealand ministers responsible for food and beverage regulation outlining action they have taken to introduce pregnancy warning labels and saying a mandatory system was not needed.In December last year, the ministers gave the alcohol industry two years to voluntarily implement pregnancy warning labels, after which time the government would regulate if satisfactory action had not been taken.
Since then the industry has moved to begin including two types of pregnancy warning labels developed by Drinkwise to be attached to their products.These labels include an image of a pregnant woman in silhouette with a cross through the picture or with the words: “It is Safest Not to Drink While Pregnant”.
An alcohol-industry representative said that by the end of next year the majority of alcohol containers would carry the warning labels.
FARE chief executive Michael Thorn said the Drinkwise labels being used by the industry were “wholly inadequate, weak, inconspicuous, and hidden on the back of the label”.