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Warning labels on beer too lite, experts say
EXPERTS have slammed a voluntary industry scheme that will see popular beer, wine and spirit products soon carrying health warnings, saying the “overdue” measures will have little impact on binge-drinking rates.
The scheme, launched today by the DrinkWise Australia Board, is aimed at convincing drinkers to ‘Get the facts’ about their alcohol consumption via the messages that will appear on product packaging.
The messages will include slogans such as ‘Kids and alcohol don’t mix’, ‘Is your drinking harming yourself or others?’ and ‘It is safest not to drink while pregnant’.
The latter message is also to be alternatively illustrated via a pictogram.
DrinkWise Australia chair Trish Worth said research undertaken by DrinkWise showed support in the community for consumer information messages on alcohol and further suggested consumers would actively seek out information when prompted.
“Providing messages which prompt consumers to think about their drinking, and supporting those messages with ongoing education activities and campaigns, will help support the community in making informed decisions about their approach to drinking alcohol," Ms Worth said.
While welcoming the campaign as industry acknowledgement that change was needed, Public Health Association of Australia spokesperson Professor Mike Daube said the push was little more than public relations rather than a meaningful public health promotion.
“We welcome the industry’s acceptance that alcohol products should at last carry health warnings – but their feeble initiative should not be used to prevent action by governments to impose strong, factual warnings that will make a real difference,” Professor Daube said.
“There appears to be nothing about some of the most serious consequences of alcohol, from brain damage to road crashes or cancer. There is nothing that will give a moment’s pause for thought to kids who are binge-drinking.”