Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, today (Friday 17 July) welcome the decision by the Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation to introduce mandatory pregnancy warning labels on alcoholic beverages
Manufacturers will now have three years to implement the “PREGNANCY WARNING” label across all alcoholic beverages.
This decision lends significant weight to Ireland’s legislative measure contained within the Public Health Alcohol Act to introduce clear, unambiguous labelling of alcohol products and notices in licensed premises including a warning to inform the public of the danger of alcohol consumption when pregnant.
This measure was enacted over 600 days ago but has yet to be commenced by the Minister for Health.
Commenting on the FSANZ decision, Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications at Alcohol Action Ireland, said:
Today’s decision from the Australian/New Zealand Ministerial Forum is hugely significant; our new Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, must now recognise the need to proceed quickly with the long awaited regulations on labelling.
Those who use alcohol in Ireland have a right to know, and clearly understand, the risk to themselves and the health of others.
Dr Mary O’Mahony, Specialist in Public Health Medicine and a Director of Alcohol Action Ireland, said:
‘Ireland is one of the top five countries with the highest estimated prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy. It is estimated that 600 babies are born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome each year and around 40,000 people are living with the condition
The bottom line is pregnancy has to be alcohol-free to prevent FASD. I would be advocating for women to say no to alcohol in pregnancy because I cannot say there is any safe amount or any safe time at which to take alcohol during pregnancy.’