20jul pregnancy warning hero
24 July 2020

Pregnancy warnings on alcohol to be mandatory

Industry gets three years to put warning labels on booze.

Labels warning of the risk of drinking when pregnant will finally be required on alcohol products but the industry’s been given three years to comply.

The decision was made at a meeting last week of New Zealand and Australian food regulation ministers.

Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said the move is a win for consumer and public health groups, who have been campaigning for mandatory labelling for years in the face of industry opposition.

“Labelling has been voluntary. As a result, many products have no labels, and those that do have inconsistent logos and wording. Research has shown the logos can be misunderstood to mean some alcohol during pregnancy is OK,” he said.

Before last week’s meeting, Consumer NZ added its support for mandatory labelling to an open letter sent to food regulation ministers. The letter was signed by more than 650 organisations and individuals, asking ministers to vote in favour of an effective health warning label.

The law change brings New Zealand in line with other countries, such as the USA and France.

Labelling requirements will be included in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code by the end of July. However, the three-year implementation period means companies will have until 2023 to put warnings on their products.

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