The Australian and New Zealand governments advise women not to consume alcohol during pregnancy.
On 17 July 2020, Minister's responsible for food regulation (the Forum) accepted a proposed draft standard for pregnancy warning labels. In making its decision, the Forum confirmed its ongoing commitment to mandatory pregnancy warning labels on alcohol to ensure women are appropriately informed about the advice to not consume alcohol while pregnant. See the
Forum communique here.
On 31 July 2020, the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code was amended to include new requirements for pregnancy warning labels on packaged alcoholic beverages.
Information for industry including downloadable labels are available.
Forum Request for Review
On 17 February 2020, FSANZ notified the Forum of its decision to approve an amendment to the Food Standards Code to require a pregnancy warning label on packaged alcoholic beverages sold in Australia and New Zealand.
On 7 April 2020, the Forum requested a review of the amendment on the grounds that it places an unreasonable cost burden on industry. The Forum requested the review consider the colour requirements of the label and signal wording.
Following its review, FSANZ notified the Forum of its decision to reaffirm the amendment with a change to the signal words from 'HEALTH WARNING' to 'PREGNANCY WARNING', and an extended transition period for implementation from two years to three years.
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Background to Proposal P1050
The Australian and New Zealand governments advise women not to consume alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol exposure during pregnancy can result in the baby being affected by a range of physical, cognitive, behavioural and neurodevelopmental disabilities, collectively known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD is a life-long disability which significantly impacts individuals, families and the wider community.
FASD is preventable by avoiding alcohol consumption during pregnancy. However, available data show that approximately 25% of women in Australia and 20% of women in New Zealand continue to consume alcohol while pregnant. Available evidence indicates that when combined with other public health initiatives, pregnancy warning labels can contribute to increased awareness of the risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant and encourage behaviour change. It can also contribute to the development of social norms to support this behaviour change.
Since 2011, the alcohol industry has implemented a voluntary pregnancy warning labelling scheme. However, following evaluations in 2014 and 2017, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) agreed that, "based on the evidence, a mandatory labelling standard for pregnancy warning labels on packaged alcoholic beverages should be developed and should include a pictogram and relevant warning statement."
In October 2018, Forum ministers requested FSANZ consider mandatory pregnancy warning labelling on packaged alcoholic beverages (read the communique from the meeting). In response, FSANZ commenced work on Proposal P1050 in November 2018.
Consistent with the
Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991, FSANZ's assessment of Proposal P1050 had regard to best available scientific evidence, relevant policy advice, stakeholder views, and the costs and benefits. As part of this work, FSANZ completed two rounds of targeted consultation and one round of public consultation. Public consultation documents and approval documents are available below.
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2019 call for submissions
A public call for submissions on a proposed approach for pregnancy warning labels was released on 4 October 2019 and closed on 27 October 2019.
Consultation documents and submissions received by FSANZ are available below.
Call for submissions – 4 October 2019
(PDF 1.8 MB) | (WORD 976 KB)
P1050 Submissions [ZIP 82.1 MB]
P1050 Late Submissions [ZIP 2.69 MB]
Last updated: 31 July 2020