Australia and New Zealand to introduce mandatory Pregnancy warning labels for alcoholic beverages
Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, today (Friday 17 July) welcome the decision by the Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation to introduce mandatory pregnancy warning labels on alcoholic beverages
Manufacturers will now have three years to implement the “PREGNANCY WARNING” label across all alcoholic beverages.
This decision lends significant weight to Ireland’s legislative measure contained within the Public Health Alcohol Act to introduce clear, unambiguous labelling of alcohol products and notices in licensed premises including a warning to inform the public of the danger of alcohol consumption when pregnant.
This measure was enacted over 600 days ago but has yet to be commenced by the Minister for Health.
Commenting on the FSANZ decision, Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications at Alcohol Action Ireland, said:
Today’s decision from the Australian/New Zealand Ministerial Forum is hugely significant; our new Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, must now recognise the need to proceed quickly with the long awaited regulations on labelling.
Those who use alcohol in Ireland have a right to know, and clearly understand, the risk to themselves and the health of others.
Dr Mary O’Mahony, Specialist in Public Health Medicine and a Director of Alcohol Action Ireland, said:
‘Ireland is one of the top five countries with the highest estimated prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy. It is estimated that 600 babies are born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome each year and around 40,000 people are living with the condition
The bottom line is pregnancy has to be alcohol-free to prevent FASD. I would be advocating for women to say no to alcohol in pregnancy because I cannot say there is any safe amount or any safe time at which to take alcohol during pregnancy.’
The full statement from the Australian New Zealand ministerial forum can be read her:
Pregnancy warning labels will be mandatory on alcoholic beverages under recommendations agreed to today by representatives of The Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation.
The regulations to commence Section 12 of the Public Health Alcohol Act have been in drafting within the Department of Health since the legislation was enacted in October 2018. The final draft regulations including a warning to inform the public of the direct link between alcohol and fatal cancers, will need to be submitted to the EU Commission for further scrutiny before commencement can proceed. The Public Health Alcohol Act allows a three year transition for alcohol producers to comply with the new regulations.