Pregnancy warning labels now mandatory on alcohol

Health ministers introduce ‘no-brainer’ alcohol labels

Australian and New Zealand Health Ministers have made it mandatory for alcohol brands to have warning labels about the risks of drinking while pregnant.

However, despite there being no official introduction date for the policy, it is hoped that the rules will come into effect within the next 12 months.

The decision

The CEO for Brewers Association Australia, Brett Heffernan, said it was a “no-brainer”, especially when it comes to something that has been encouraged since 2012.

“We fully expected this outcome,” Mr. Heffernan said.

“We are perplexed as to why others in the industry failed to heed the writing on the wall since 2012. The three major brewers got the job done, across hundreds of products labels, in just two years.”

“Governments expected the industry would bear the warnings on all products…not just some or even most.”

Currently, only 75% of companies comply to having warnings for their products, despite two federal surveys and six years of voluntary labelling.

Mr. Heffernan took up arms in supporting the doctors’ pleas, “In the end, Federal and State Ministers have been left with no choice but to mandate pregnancy warning labels.”

The importance of mandatory warning labels

Many health professionals such as after-hours doctors, including AMA president Tony Bartone, have commended the decision.

“Too many women are unaware of the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant or trying to conceive,” Dr Bartone said.

“We need to be very clear that the effects, things like neurodevelopmental abnormality associated with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder are significant… and also can have effects in the offspring of the children involved.”

According to the experts at House Call Doctor, other complications associated with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder include:

  • Small head size
  • Shorter-than-average height
  • Poor coordination
  • Learning disabilities
  • Vision or hearing problems.