The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) has welcomed the release of the Government’s latest report showing that pregnancy labelling across all sectors of the alcohol beverage industry has increased to more than 75 percent, by top market share – an increase of 15.5 percent on the previous report.
WFA chief executive Tony Battaglene said, “We strongly support continuation of this as a voluntary program. This report clearly shows there is no compelling reason for State or Federal governments to support mandatory labelling.”
The issue of whether to make pregnancy labelling a mandatory requirement is being considered by Health Ministers from all States, Territories and the Federal Government, with a decision expected in the first half of 2018.
“Our target is for 100 percent adoption by wine brands,” Tony said.
“This Government report shows we are on track to achieve that. We don’t want to be blind-sided by costly mandatory regulation that may significantly change the logo and design that we have worked so hard to promote in the community.”
The report also identified that there has been an increase in awareness of health messages about drinking while pregnant and that the major source of these messages is health care professionals or informational posters and pamphlets.
“We have always said that labelling must complement broader public health campaigns and be led by healthcare providers. The Australian wine industry has shown our commitment to Governments and the public by being a partner in reinforcing this message through on-label means,” Tony said.
“It is now time for Governments to work together, to clearly identify what the next stage of a targeted awareness campaign focused on public health providers should look like. Back-tracking to claim success from a voluntary program that has already achieved significant coverage at no cost to Governments is disingenuous.
“I applaud all those wineries who have already adopted the voluntary pregnancy logo on their labels and I encourage others to get on board for this vintage, especially small winemakers who may not have been aware of the importance of being part of this program before now.”