In a bid to prevent legally mandatory health warnings on their products, the Australian drinks industry has recently introduced their own warning labels. However, market research by Galaxy Research has overwhelmingly rejected these labels in favor of the labels produced by the Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education (FARE). Also labelleling news from Europe and a ban on tobacco branded packaging.

Research by Galaxy Research, amongst 504 people shows that:

• 95% selected the FARE health warning labels as being more noticeable.
• 89% believed the FARE health warning labels are more likely to raise awareness of alcohol‐related harms.
• 88% felt the FARE health warning labels would be more likely to prompt conversations about alcohol related harms.
• 88% believed the FARE warning labels would be more likely to result in people drinking less alcohol.
• 60% selected the FARE labels as telling them something they did not already know while only 10% selected the DrinkWise labels.

Michael Thorn, Chief Executive of FARE said, “This demonstrates that warning labels have to be clear, contain specific health messages and prominently placed on alcohol products. The research is an indictment of the industry’s weak approach to alcohol labeling and their inability to prioritise the health of Australians.”

[b]Labelling in Europe [/b]

In related news, the European FASD Alliance has started a Europe-wide call for labels on alcoholic beverages to warn women not to consume alcohol during pregnancy. In the coming days, 15.000 postcards illustrating the demand for warning labels will be sent to national and EU health ministers and policymakers or distributed to the general public throughout Europe. These postcards show outlines of bottles of alcoholic drinks with stickers provided to stick onto the bottles. The stickers carry the internationally recognized warning pictogram.

Either this pictogram or a warning text are mandated on alcoholic beverages sold in France. In other countries, some brands bear labels, but most do not. The European FASD Alliance believes that all European women have the right to know of the dangers of drinking during pregnancy. Therefore, they lobby for standardized, mandatory health warning labels on containers of alcoholic drinks and on advertisements for these products.

[b]Tobacco packaging in Australia[/b]

Since packaging is one of the many forms of alcohol marketing, labeling is a subject that EUCAM is following closely. The debate over warning labels on alcoholic containers has been raging for some years now, but the discussion might soon head in a new direction as Australia is drafting plans prohibiting brand specific packaging of tobacco products next year. As of December 2012 cigarettes are to be sold in plain olive packets, with no mention of the brand. They do continue to show graphic images of the harm smoking can cause.

The proposed laws comply with a 2005 advice from the World Health organisation, and are being closely watched by governments considering similar moves in Europe, Canada and New Zealand. Tobacco companies on their turn have voiced their dissatisfaction with the plans and plan to challenge the decision.

For more info on the Australian Health Warnings, check out the[link=http://www.fare.org.au/] FARE website>>[/link]
For more info on the European labels campaigns checkout the [link=fb.com/alcohol.labels]Alcohol Labels Facebook Page[/link], or [link=https://twitter.com/#!/alcohol_labels]follow them on twitter[/link].

Sources:
Reuters.com 11/10/11
FARE.org.au 12/04/11

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