Visible health warnings advising women not to consume alcohol during pregnancy have now become mandatory on alcohol beverage containers. On 17 July 2020, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) accepted Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) revised pregnancy warning label which includes a red warning with the signal words 'PREGNANCY WARNING'.
According to a statement made by the chair of the Forum, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, manufacturers will now have three years to implement the 'pregnancy warning' label across all alcoholic beverage containers.
The decision comes after community action calling for clearer health and safety information on alcohol beverage containers, led by not-for-profit organisations NOFASD Australia and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE).
"Tens of thousands of Australian families who are impacted by FASD are celebrating today's decision" – Sophie Harrington, COO NOFASD Australia
Richard Colbeck said, "The decisions made today underpin the efforts across the sector to improve standards and ensure the health of consumers, while giving consideration to the pressures on producers."
Towards ending FASD
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause serious health concerns for mother and baby. It can lead to miscarriage, premature birth and low birth weight babies. Alcohol can also cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or FASD. The disabilities associated with FASD are permanent and can result in lifelong problems with learning, managing behaviour, mental health and a range of other disabilities that can make a child's life very difficult.
Sophie Harrington, COO of FASD advocacy organisation NOFASD Australia in a statement said, "Tens of thousands of Australian families who are impacted by FASD are celebrating today's decision, because they know how significantly this lifelong disability affects the health and wellbeing of our loved ones."
Confidential and free help is available to stop drinking while pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding. The Get Healthy in Pregnancy service is an evidence-based health coaching service for pregnant women in NSW aged 16 years and over. Contact the Get Healthy service on
1300 806 258 or online at
gethealthynsw.com.au/program/get-healthy-in-pregnancy for support.