11th February, 2013 by Rupert Millar
The Australian health lobby has called for wine to carry graphic, cigarette-style, health warnings.
Proposed warnings for labels in the UK
An array of health lobbying groups, including the National Alliance for Action Against Alcohol, the Alcohol Policy Coalition, Vic Health and the Cancer Council of Victoria have launched an appeal to apply the labels to wine, beer and spirits in a bid to combat diseases stemming from alcohol abuse.
There is already a voluntary system in place in Australia where wineries bear messages on the back label warning against drinking while pregnant and the dangers of underage drinking.
The labels also provide a link to DrinkWise’s “get the facts” online information service.
According to Adelaide Now, Vic Health’s executive manager, Dr Bruce Bolam, has said that while, “a step in the right direction”, “we need to go further”.
He listed many problems caused by alcohol abuse, including car accidents and domestic violence as well as the health concerns.
The lobbyists have apparently called for more “visually arresting” labels to dominate at least the back labels and potentially more of the front label as well.
Adelaide Now said that it was understood that the proposals put forward by the various groups include a call that these graphic labels should take up as much as 25% of the front label.
Bolam admitted it was a “radical step”, but one that should be considered.
Paul Evans, head of Winemakers Federation of Australia, said that any such move would, “make our wine industry an international laughing stock.”
Similar proposals have already been made in the UK (see labels above). It was recently announced that calorie information was being considered for beer, wine and spirits labels.