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Health Advisory Labels on Alcohol a Step Closer

Health Advisory Labels on Alcohol a Step Closer

31 January 2011

A push by the Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) for health advisory labels to be placed on alcohol containers warning of the dangers of consuming alcohol while pregnant is a step closer.

A Trans-Tasman food labelling review panel has just released its recommendations calling for suitably worded warning messages about the risks of consuming alcohol while pregnant be mandated on individual containers of alcoholic beverages and at the point of sale for unpackaged alcoholic beverages.

The independent panel, commissioned by the Trans-Tasman Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council, also recommended generic alcohol warning messages be placed on alcohol labels but only as an element of a comprehensive multifaceted national campaign targeting the public health problems of alcohol in society.

ALAC Acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Andrew Hearn said ALAC had applied to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) for health advisory labels round pregnancy be placed on alcohol containers. This latest announcement was another step forward and was welcomed by ALAC. A response from the Ministerial Council to the panel’s recommendations was expected in December 2011.

Dr Hearn said women needed to have the necessary information to make informed choices about any product they might potentially consume during pregnancy that could harm the fetus.

"Not having this basic information displayed on the product sends a signal to women that alcohol mustn't be that much of a problem during pregnancy - a message that is contrary to both ALAC and official Ministry of Health advice to avoid alcohol during that time.

"There is no known safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy,” he said.

ENDS


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