Influencing and Implementing Mandatory Alcohol Pregnancy Warning Labels in Australia and New Zealand
Alcohol labeling laws and policies are contentious and highly politicized. Very few countries have been able to implement health warnings on alcohol labels due to complex legal and governance systems and coordinated industry lobbying.
In 2020, Australia and New Zealand implemented a mandatory and evidence-based legal standard for pregnancy warning labels on alcohol products. This article discusses some of the challenges faced in achieving policy change and how these barriers were overcome by public health advocacy groups to build the evidence, counter industry conflicts of interest, consumer test health messages, mobilize community support, and gather political support.
Reflecting on the decades of ineffective regulation and politicization of this health issue, lessons for other countries include the importance of creating and maintaining relationships with decision-makers and regularly updating them with evidence and recommendations, highlighting industry failures and tactics, and building broad-based coalitions and sharing lived-experiences.