- Mandatory pregnancy health warnings on alcoholic beverages required
- Inaction on implementing effective mandatory labels is risking the health of unborn children
- Important public health issue which requires immediate attention
The McGowan Government is calling on the Commonwealth, States and Territories to immediately support the introduction of mandatory pregnancy health warnings on alcoholic beverages.
Currently, voluntary industry labelling on alcoholic beverages means that many products do not carry important pregnancy health warnings.
Mandatory labelling to increase awareness of the dangers of alcohol during pregnancy at the point of purchase and consumption is long overdue.
Inaction to implement effective mandatory labels on this important issue is putting the lives of unborn children at risk.
Alcohol can disturb the development of an embryo or fetus. If a fetus is exposed to alcohol, it can result in a range of adverse effects to the brain and organs of the unborn child, collectively known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
There is no cure for FASD and its effects last a lifetime. Experts agree that pregnant women should avoid alcohol consumption.
As the nature and degree of adverse effects of alcohol exposure to the brain and organs of the unborn child is hard to predict, no alcohol during pregnancy is the safest option.
Women who are concerned about their alcohol use during pregnancy or their child's development should talk to a health professional or call the Alcohol and Drug Support Line on 9442 5000.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"Increasing awareness of the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and while breastfeeding is essential.
"FASD is a serious public health issue which has lifelong consequences for people with the disorder and their families. However, the condition is avoidable and more needs to be done to ensure that pregnant women are aware of the dangers.
"There is no reason why mandatory labelling on alcoholic products sold in Australia cannot be implemented immediately.
"The failure to act on this issue is inexcusable and is putting lives of vulnerable children at risk.
"I call on my counterparts in the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to support my position on mandatory pregnancy health warning labelling of alcoholic beverages at the upcoming Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation on November 24, 2017."
Minister's office - 6552 6500