Common sense prevails in pregnancy warning labelling

20 March 2020

The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation today expressed its ongoing support for mandatory pregnancy warning labels on alcoholic beverages in recognition of the harm caused by consuming alcohol whilst pregnant. 

However, Ministers agreed to task Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to review the specific colours and statement prescribed as part of FSANZ Board decision because of the unreasonable cost burden the specific design would impose on industry.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said it is important that consumers are provided with clear information to support sensible health choices, particularly where consumption has a demonstrated harm. 

“Mandatory labelling on alcoholic beverages will improve knowledge, raise awareness and prompt discussion of the harmful consequences of drinking whilst pregnant, no-one is arguing that mandatory pregnancy warning labelling should not happen” Minister Littleproud said.

“But we need to implement this in a common sense way that understands the realities of branding and label manufacturing. 

“The prescription of the proposal presented today would have had devastating effects on the industry, particularly on our small wine and craft beer producers. 

“But it’s important that we don’t kick this can down the road. That is why we’ve asked FSANZ to conduct a review of the wording and colour of the proposed warning labels within three months.

“I welcome the position taken by the alcohol industry, and in particular the Australian Grape and Wine to date in firstly calling for its own industry to better demonstrate 100 per cent adoption of the current voluntary labelling system then in universally supporting the adoption of mandatory labelling.” 

  • Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum support mandatory pregnancy warning labelling
  • Ministers agreed to review the current proposal because of the unreasonable costs it would impose
  • Review expected to be complete within three months