Pregnancy alcohol warning labels mandatory: decision welcomed

Ailish DelaneySouth Western Times
Cancer Council WA South West regional education officer Shenae Hawkins welcomed the new labels.
Camera IconCancer Council WA South West regional education officer Shenae Hawkins welcomed the new labels. Credit: Jon Gellweiler/South Western Times

The decision to implement a new mandatory warning label on alcohol products about the dangers of consuming it during pregnancy has been welcomed by Cancer Council WA.

The new red, black and white warning labels were decided on last week by the ministerial Food Regulation Forum and depict a pregnant woman with the wording “pregnancy warning: alcohol can cause lifelong harm to your baby”.

Cancer Council WA South West regional education officer Shenae Hawkins welcomed the decision and said it would send a clear message to the community about potential harm from alcohol use during pregnancy.

“We are pleased that our Food Ministers have put the health and wellbeing of our children first, before alcohol industry interests, by voting for an effective and clear health pregnancy warning label on alcohol products,” Mrs Hawkins said.

“Despite intense lobbying by the alcohol industry to water down the warning label, the ministers have followed the evidence-based advice and adopted an effective label.”

The new warning label.
Camera IconThe new warning label. Credit: Supplied

The design was put forward by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand and was evidence-based, consumer-tested and went through extensive consultation with health groups and industry, according to Mrs Hawkins.

“The warning labels will play an important role in raising awareness of the risks associated with alcohol use and preventing the devastating and lifelong harm to unborn babies,” she said.

At the end of the day, alcohol is a dangerous product, and if you sell a harmful product, then it needs to be labelled as such.

Shenae Hawkins

Health Minister Roger Cook said he hoped the new labels would contribute to limiting the incidence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

“Effective mandatory labelling to increase awareness of the dangers of alcohol during pregnancy is long overdue,” he said.

This is a significant step in reducing the harmful effects of alcohol during pregnancy.

Roger Cook

Alcohol providers will have three years to ensure the pregnancy health warning labels are placed on all bottles and cans.

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