Food Labelling Law and Policy Review

April 02 2012

The Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council commissioned an independent Panel to Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy, who presented their report in January 2011 http://www.foodlabellingreview.gov.au/internet/foodlabelling/publishing....
The Ministerial Council released its response to their alcohol-related recommendations at the end of 2011. 
http://www.foodlabellingreview.gov.au/internet/foodlabelling/publishing.nsf/content/home

The Panel’s Recommendations included:

Recommendation 24: That 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.

Recommendation 25: That a suitably worded warning message 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, as support for ongoing broader community education.

The Ministerial Council noted both recommendations. It is is waiting for further advice on the efficacy of generic alcohol warnings in relation to a comprehensive national campaign on the public health problems of alcohol before it makes any further decision on Rec 24 and in relation to Rec 25 it supports pursuing warnings about the risks of consuming alcohol while pregnant, but industry be given a period of two years to adopt voluntary initiatives before regulating for this change.

ALAC’s Submission On Food Labelling Law and Policy Review is available online from ALAC’s Home Page, http://www.alac.org.nz/sites/default/files/useruploads/Submissions/Foodlabellingsubmission.pdf (under About ALAC, Submissions). ALAC’s view is that women need 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.

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