Warning labels on the way

Pregnancy warning label on a wine bottle. (Photo: Kate Geraghty/Stuff)

Warning labels advising pregnant women about the dangers of drinking alcohol will become mandatory in New Zealand and Australia, although the exact wording, placement and implementation date have yet to be worked out.

Voluntary warnings have been included for the past six years, although about half of all alcohol products do not carry pregnancy warnings.

Voluntary warnings have been included for the past six years, although about half of all alcohol products do not carry pregnancy warnings, according to the Dominion Post.

Philip Gregan, chief executive officer of New Zealand Winegrowers, said that they supported the addition of a warning to pregnant women on wine labels and would encourage their winery members to use it. Wineries that export their production are likely to have encountered the warning in other markets.

It would be uncharitable to oppose a measure designed to protect the health of unborn children and it is certainly good to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.

New Zealand Alcohol Beverages Council Executive Director Nick Leggett was reported to have offered qualified support for the initiative when he said,

“We support anything which reduces alcohol harm, but there’s a lot of evidence which says labelling, in itself, doesn’t change much. After a year or two, when this has been fully implemented, we should be looking at the results.”

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