Alcohol Pregnancy Warning Labels


On 24 November 2017 Australian and New Zealand Ministers with responsibility for food regulation, known as the Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum), will be considering alcohol pregnancy warning labels.

The NSW and ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance (NAAPA)* has sought our support to ask members to write to the Health and Food Minister in NSW state to ask them to immediately commence the process of mandating proper pregnancy warning labels on all alcohol products.

There is a real prospect that Forum members are prepared to end the alcohol industry’s failed and grossly inadequate voluntary consumer information scheme.

To make this process easier for you the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)* has drafted a template letter which you can use. The template letter is found here: 

Alcohol Pregnancy Warning Labels - Template Letter Alcohol Pregnancy Warning Labels - Template Letter (23 KB)

The details for the relevant Forum Ministers are: 

The Hon Brad Hazzard MP
Minister for Health
Level 31
Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
Salutation: Dear Mr Hazzard 
The Hon Niall Blair MLC
Minister for Primary Industries
Level 30
Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
Salutation: Dear Mr Blair 

When writing to your Minister/s please copy and paste the entire address block and use the salutation provided.

Why this issue is important?

  1. In 2011, Ministers agreed that alcohol warning labels should be pursued, but allowed the alcohol industry a two-year trial period “…to introduce appropriate labelling.” [i] This timeframe was extended in 2014 for another two years.
  2. Recent testing (2016) found that the DrinkWise label (‘It is safest not to drink while pregnant’) was misinterpreted by consumers with 38 per cent of those surveyed believing it meant that it was okay to consume alcohol during pregnancy.
  3. Alcohol health warning labels promote health messages in ways that other health initiatives do not, at point of sale and at point of consumption.
  4. There is a clear regulatory process for food labelling (alcohol is considered a food in this instance) in Australia and New Zealand, this is through Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
  5. A labelling standard has not yet been produced, one details the size, location and wording of the label. FSANZ is the only organisation that can do this and needs to be tasked by the Forum to commence the process to implement mandatory alcohol health warning labels.
  6. Continued delay and the continued allowance of labels that confuse or are misinterpreted by consumers is dangerous to the health and lives of future generations.

*NAAPA is an alliance of health, community, emergency services and research organisations that has been formed with the objective of promoting evidence-based actions to prevent and reduce acute and chronic alcohol-related harms.

*The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to stop the harm caused by alcohol.