The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) is calling on Ministers on the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation to put the health and wellbeing of children first by approving the most effective pregnancy health warning label on alcohol products when they meet on Friday.
NAAA commends Foods Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) for recommending that a pregnancy health warning label with three colours – red, black and white – as being the most effective and urges Ministers to vote for this label.
The alcohol industry continues to aggressively resist the introduction of effective pregnancy health warning labels on alcohol products.
NAAA Co-Chair Jane Martin said, “Watering down the warning colours from red, black and white would make the warning virtually invisible.”
“Yet again we are seeing the alcohol industry is placing commercial interests ahead of the health and wellbeing of our children by actively campaigning for a weakened pregnancy warning label.”
“We are also disappointed that FSANZ has amended the label’s signal wording from ‘Health Warning’ to ‘Pregnancy Warning’ as this narrows the audience.
“Alcohol is the only cause of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). This is a devastating, lifelong condition that can be prevented when women are aware of the risks of drinking while pregnant, and supported by their families, friends and the broader community to have alcohol free pregnancies.”
FSANZ conservatively estimated the health-related cost of FASD across Australia and New Zealand to be A$27.6 billion over 20 years. Just over 1 per cent of FASD cases need to be prevented to offset the total cost of label changes.
“Half of all pregnancies in Australia are unplanned, making the risk of alcohol exposure very high; yet a quarter of Australians don’t know that drinking during pregnancy is harmful.
“FASD is the leading cause of preventable developmental disability in Australia. The alcohol industry does not want a clear and effective health warning label because it does not want people to know about the real risks of alcohol use during pregnancy.”