Pregnancy Label Announcement

This morning Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) notified the Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) of its proposed mandatory pregnancy warning label. Unfortunately, it is a very disappointing outcome. Details of the decision are below: 

  • Headline “HEALTH WARNING” statement goes beyond the Forum’s request that FSANZ consider a mandatory pregnancy warning label and opens the door for other “health” warnings in the future, and an associated increase in the size of the label warning. This would be a terrible precedent.
  • The warning statement “Alcohol can cause lifelong harm to your baby” was not tested during the consultation process, and diverges from the current NHMRC advice that “it’s safest not to drink while pregnant”.
    • DrinkWise Australia’s FASD program materials and other pregnancy related awareness initiatives refer to the NHMRC language, which is problematic for existing activities. 
  • Size – 
    • For the majority of wine bottles (those more than 200ml in volume) FSANZ proposes a requirement that each warning would be at least 9mm in total. This includes the 6mm pictogram, and the 3mm clear space between the pictogram, warning text and the boarder.
    • For bottles 200ml or less, only the pictogram will be required.
  • Transitional period is fairly standard for FSANZ – 2 years plus exemptions for stock in trade.

Australian Grape & Wine will now commence the process of talking to relevant Federal, State and Territory Ministers in consultation with state wine industry associations to seek a review of the FSANZ proposal, which is the best achievable outcome in the process. We understand that the Forum will be considering the FSANZ report on 20th or 27th March 2020. They have two options. First, to accept the report and its recommendations or second, to request FSANZ review their recommendations. Our understanding is that most of the States, with the possible exception of NSW and South Australia will support adoption.

We also issued the attached media release this morning. We will work to keep you updated on this issue as it, or if it, evolves further.

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