The IBA is calling on its members to contact MPs to avert the “unmitigated disaster” of a new health warning proposal.
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has assessed a proposal – Proposal P1050 – to consider a mandatory pregnancy warning label on packaged alcoholic beverages and has prepared a draft food regulatory measure.
It was concluded a warning label should include a pictogram and warning statement, be evidence based and consumer tested. The DRIS (Decision Regulation Impact Statement) also stated the evidence suggests effective pregnancy warning labels should:
- include text that is readable and possibly the same size as all information on the product label
- use short warning messages, and words such as ‘WARNING’ or ‘HEALTH WARNING’ to indicate it is a warning label
- be separated from other information on the label (for example, placed in boxes with borders and away from messages such as enjoy in moderation)
- use contrasting colours, noting that the colour green should not be used as it can cause confusion and that the colour red receives the most attention and is readily associated with being a warning.
“As if the Coronavirus was not enough to cope with, the FSANZ P1050 proposal to put health warning on all alcoholic products is an unmitigated disaster that we, along with the rest of the industry, have been fighting for the last two years,” IBA chairman Peter Philip said in a statement.
“The proposal, if approved, will mandate a massive red HEALTH WARNING and pictogram on a white background which will dwarf the other mandatory labelling requirements and will cost indie brewers $100m over 10 years.
“Since the proposal came out the entire industry, working as a united front, have been lobbying the government’s and ministerial food forum members who need to vote on this proposal at the end of this week. To be clear, we are accepting that labelling should be mandatory, but are asking for the wording to be changed and specific colours to be dropped.
“The state and territory health ministers have had the powerful health lobby in their ear for many years who would love nothing more than total prohibition of alcohol. Make no mistake, we have a big fight on our hands and it will be tough to win.
“That’s why we need you to go to this website today which has been produced by Alcohol Beverages Australia who we have been working with to lobby the government.”