The Brewers Association of Australia has reiterated its full support for mandatory pregnancy labelling on alcohol but maintains its stance against Food Standards Australia and New Zealand’s proposed use of mandatory colours.
The association has said the mandatory colours are “not necessary” to achieve its objectives and will come at an “unreasonable cost” to both consumers and producers, which may exceed $400 million in ongoing costs.
“These unreasonable and unnecessary costs are even more concerning as the entire community is dealing with the tremendous economic impact of COVID-19, which is decimating large parts of the beverages and hospitality sectors and the jobs they provide,” said Brewers Association of Australia CEO Brett Heffernan.
“The same public health benefit is achieved without unreasonable cost by developing sensible, high contrast colour guidelines, which are consistent with the obligations imposed by the Food Code.
“The proposed label, which Brewers support except for the mandatory colours, will be the largest of all the mandatory information that alcohol containers are required to have. For example, the proposed label will be larger and more readable than alcohol content information and number of standard drinks that appear on alcohol containers.”
Brewers can move to the new mandatory label within two years, said Heffernan, as opposed to three years as proposed by FSANZ, “if the Forum endorses sensible colour contrast guidelines”.
- The association has supported key features of the FSANZ label, which includes:
- Increasing the size of the warning;
- A box outline to highlight the warning;
- New signal wording of ‘Pregnancy Warning’; and
- New written warning message that ‘Alcohol can cause lifelong harm to your baby’ to accompany the familiar pictogram of a pregnant woman holding a drink with a line through her silhouette.
“The forum meets tomorrow and we seek the support of governments to achieve a sensible compromise that achieves a strong, readable and impactful label that does not impose unreasonable costs,” said Heffernan.
Members of the association have voluntarily carried pregnancy warning labels on products since 2014.