Reducing harm caused by alcohol


Victory for public health as Australian ministers agree to visible pregnancy warning

On Friday 17 July 2020, Australian food ministers prioritised people’s safety and health by agreeing to a visible pregnancy health warning on alcohol products.

Ministers agreed to the recommendation of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) of a red, black and white warning, with the wording ‘pregnancy warning’.

Almost four thousand community leaders and advocates as well as more than 180 community, health, medical and research organisations joined the campaign to persuade ministers to put health before the industry’s profit.

The win comes after the alcohol industry opposed the move to introduce clear warning labels claiming the cost to do so was unreasonable.

The review report from FSANZ showed this was not the case, and that the small costs to manufacturers would be more than out-weighed by the human and financial benefits from avoiding future cases of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Australia joins other countries such as France and Ireland in requiring warning labels to highlight the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.  Alcohol Focus Scotland would like to see this, along with other product information and health warnings, apply to alcoholic drinks in the UK.