Regulation Impact Statement Updates

Official website for publishing regulatory impact analysis information for regulatory decisions announced by the Australian Government, COAG and COAG Councils.

Pregnancy Warning Labels on packaged Alcoholic Beverages

COAG
12th October 2018

COAG Decision Regulation Impact Statement – Food Regulation Standing Committee 

On 11 October 2018, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) agreed, 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. The Forum requested Food Standards Australia New Zealand develop this mandatory labelling standard as a priority.  

The primary objective of the reforms is to provide a clear and easy to understand trigger to remind pregnant women, at both the point of sale and the potential point of consumption, that it is best not to drink alcohol whilst pregnant. A secondary objective of pregnancy warning labels on packaged alcoholic beverages is to provide information to the community about the risks of pregnant women drinking alcohol. If a pregnant woman consumes alcohol (of any type), it can cause a range of physical, cognitive, behavioural and neurodevelopmental disabilities to the developing fetus, known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

A Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was prepared on behalf of the Forum and has been assessed as adequate by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) in accordance with the Council of Australian Governments’ RIS requirements.

The OBPR notes the limited data available on FASD in the Australian context and the challenges this presents in accurately assessing its scope and the cost to society. The RIS acknowledges labelling-based interventions are likely to be effective in reducing the incidence of FASD when used as part of a broader suite of measures. Given this uncertainty, it will be important for the intervention to be subject to robust ex post evaluation.

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