Alcohol bottles will display a prominent warning label outlining the dangers of drinking while pregnant, after politicians in New Zealand voted to make the new label mandatory. State, territory, federal and New Zealand food ministers approved the label recommended by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) in a vote that was split 6-4. It has black, white and red text stating “PREGNANCY WARNING: Alcohol can cause lifelong harm to your baby.” The label, will replace the current voluntary DrinkWise label.
Federal food minister Richard Colbeck, who chairs the ministerial forum, proposed an amendment to remove the red ink requirement, which was supported by New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland but voted down by New Zealand, Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT.
Manufacturers will have three years to implement the new label across all alcoholic beverages. The label will be on alcohol bottles of 200ml or more, with smaller bottles to display the pictogram, which will now have to be black, white and red.
The label reflects changes made by FSANZ after the ministerial forum ordered it to reconsider an earlier version that carried the words “HEALTH WARNING” instead of “PREGNANCY WARNING”, and which would have required implementation within two years.