FSANZ recommends change to pregnancy label

Following an application by the Brewers Association of New Zealand, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand has approved a draft variation to the code designed to resolve an issue with printing the pregnancy warning label on corrugated cardboard packaging.

Key points:

  • On 31 July 2020, the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code was amended to include new requirements for pregnancy warning labelling on packaged alcoholic beverages, with the requirements to be implemented by 1 August 2023.
  • The amendments introduced the requirement that a pregnancy warning mark be in three colours – red, black and white.
  • Since the code was amended, the industry identified an issue with the printing of the warning on corrugated cardboard packaging that saw a printing misalignment that the industry argued impacted the legibility of the warning.
  • FSANZ concluded that given a misaligned label could reduce the readability and effectiveness of the pregnancy warning mark, and risk non-compliance with existing requirements, permitting an alternative pregnancy warning mark will maintain effectiveness of pregnancy warning labelling.
  • The alternative pregnancy warning mark can only be used on corrugated cardboard outer packages for retail sale that are printed using a postprint process and contain more than one individual unit of a prescribed alcoholic beverage.
  • The draft variation will now go to the Food Ministers Meeting for approval. The Food Ministers are the lead ministers, usually health ministers, from Australian state and territory governments and the Australian and New Zealand governments.
  • The transitional arrangements are outlined in the Approval Report.

Draft requirements

The approved draft variation of the Code permits the use of an alternative pregnancy warning mark with the following requirements:

  • the signal words, statement, pictogram and border must be in the single colour black
  • the background must be the same colour as the CC outside liner (i.e. brown, grey or white)
  • minimum size of type for the signal words of 4.4 mm
  • minimum size of type for the statement of 3.4 mm
  • minimum pictogram diameter of 14 mm.

The transition period for commences on the date of gazettal of the approved draft variation and ends on 1 February 2024.

Prescribed alcoholic beverages packaged and labelled before the end of the transition period – i.e. before 2 February 2024 – may be sold without the pregnancy warning mark. The end of the transition period for pregnancy warning labels for all non-corrugated cardboard packaging and individual alcoholic beverage containers remains at 31 July 2023.

More information on the pregnancy labelling requirements and transitional arrangements can be found on the Food Standards website.

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