Tick tock… the countdown begins to implement pregnancy warning labels on packaged alcohol in Australia and New Zealand

By Lynne Lewis, Kellie O'Flynn

08-2020

Further to our earlier article on proposed changes to the regime, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the regulator responsible for developing food standards for Australia and New Zealand, has announced a three year transition period for mandatory pregnancy warning labels to appear on alcohol.

On 7 April 2020, the Ministers responsible for food regulation requested a review of FSANZ's decision in February 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.

Following that review, which was requested on the grounds that the amendment would place an unreasonable cost burden on the industry, FSANZ reaffirmed the amendment with the following tweaks:

  • a change from 'HEALTH WARNING' to 'PREGNANCY WARNING' for the signal words on the warning label; and
  • an extended transition period for implementation from two years to three years.

There are four different label types depending on the volume and outer packaging of the alcoholic beverage in question: 

 

There are also various requirements as to the minimum size of the labels, the font type and colours to be used, and the need for clear space around the outside of the pregnancy warning mark.

Businesses have three years from 31 July 2020 to implement the new requirements.

In an effort to assist with the transition, FSANZ has produced a document which outlines the design elements and provides downloadable pregnancy warning labels required by the Code. All of that information can be accessed here.