In October 2018, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation agreed to develop and introduce a mandatory labelling standard for pregnancy warning labels on packaged alcoholic beverages. It is expected that the mandatory labelling standard will be formally announced in mid-late 2019 and will require:
- a pictogram; and
- relevant warning statement.
The primary objective of the reforms is to provide a clear and easy to understand trigger to remind pregnant women, at both the point of sale and the potential point of consumption, that it is best not to drink alcohol whilst pregnant.
Currently, pregnancy warning labels on packaged alcoholic beverages are mandatory in 28 countries.
Pregnancy warning labels have been used in the beer, wine and spirit industries on a voluntary basis since late 2011 with the majority of large industry participants commencing the practice of displaying a pregnancy warning label early on. Despite the voluntary regime being encouraged for a number of years, in 2017 only 48% of the industry had adopted the use of pregnancy warning labels.
According to the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation Final Communiqué published on 11 October 2018, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation will undertake a comprehensive consultation and will implement:
- appropriate transition timelines; and
- stock-in-trade exemptions on new arrangements.
For more information see Pregnancy Warning Labels on Packaged Alcoholic Beverages.
Ramsden Lawyers are experts in beverage law and regularly advise clients on compliance matters. If you produce beer, wine or spirits and have queries or concerns about your operations, please contact one of our expert beverage lawyers.