Brewers urged to consult on FSANZ label colour mandates

Brewers are being urged to write to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to support proposals to amend the pregnancy warning label colour stipulations.

Brewers wishing to conform to the labelling mandates, which were introduced in July 2020 with a deadline of 2023, have faced technical difficulties with printing the prescribed colour scheme of red, black and white.

“It has become apparent that the standard “post print” printing process for corrugated cardboard cartons used as outer packaging causes significant misalignment when printing the pregnancy warning in three colours,” an amendment application by the Brewers Association of New Zealand said.

“This makes the pregnancy warning difficult to read and reduces its effectiveness.”

The amendment proposal from the Brewers Association suggests it will result in compliance issues for brewers.

The Brewers Association, backed by Australia’s Independent Brewers Association and the Brewers Guild of New Zealand, applied for the changes in June 2022, asking FSANZ to permit pregnancy warning labels on corrugated cardboard packaging used for multiple individual units of alcoholic beverages to be in a single colour on a contrasting background.

Current required pregnancy warning label

“There are no viable alternatives available to the whole sector for this type of packaging and printing for heavier formats containing multiple units of alcoholic beverages from the perspective of suitability, availability, cost or sustainability,” the Association told FSANZ.

“Therefore a solution is necessary in order to maintain the effectiveness of the pregnancy warning in these circumstances.”

FSANZ is now planning on a public consultation on the amendment, and the Brewers Association and IBA are urging brewers in both countries to write in and communicate the challenges they are facing with colour printing as they attempt to conform to the new rules.

Consultation is expected to open later this month according to FSANZ.

Despite ministers suggesting that pregnancy warning labels would be scrapped, FSANZ officially mandated pregnancy warning labels in July 2020 after a battle with the industry over the labels themselves as well as the details of the mandates, including colour stipulations.

The Brewers Association, which represents Coopers, Lion and Carlton and United Breweries, encouraged the sanctioning of labelling, but criticised the mandatory colours.

The IBA and Brewers Guild also raised concerns about the colour mandating when the warning labels were implemented, but the issues have only come to the fore as brewers have attempted to implement the mandates.

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