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Minister welcomes progress on alcohol labels

13 December 2007

Minister welcomes progress on alcohol warning labels

Associate Health Minister Damien O’Connor today welcomed progress on the proposal to place labels on alcoholic beverages informing women of the risks of drinking while pregnant.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) yesterday released an assessment report on the Alcohol Advisory Council’s (ALAC) application to amend the Food Standards Code so all containers of alcoholic beverages contain a warning label about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy. The report is to appraise whether ALAC’s application warrants further consideration by FSANZ.

Mr O’Connor said the Government fully supports ALAC’s application and he encourages individuals and organisations to comment on FSANZ’s report.

“Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) can have life long and debilitating affects. It can result in permanent brain damage and can include a range of behavioural and physical disabilities. These disorders are fully preventable,” said Mr O’Connor.

“The Government is concerned about this issue and is acting on it. We have already adopted a policy of recommending zero alcohol consumption for women who are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant. There is no known safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy.”

ALAC’s application forms part of a whole of government approach to address FASD in New Zealand. Work is currently under way by the Inter-Agency Committee on Drugs to develop a broad action plan with a focus on FASD under the National Drug Policy 2007-2012.

The Ministry of Health will be providing a submission in support of ALAC’s application to Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

ENDS

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