Letter to the Editor re: Minister met with alcohol lobby before pregnancy warning label sent back for review (The Age/SMH 19/6/20)

In response to an article published by SMH and The Age, Alcohol Beverages Australia received correspondence from members of the public expressing concern over our position on pregnancy warning labels.

Despite being contacted by the journalist, unfortunately our comments were not included in the article and our Letter to the Editor seeking balance and the correction of facts remains unpublished.

Our unpublished letter to SMH and The Age explaining this is below:

———–

Dear Editor

Your article Minister met with alcohol lobby before pregnancy warning label sent back for review (The Age / SMH 19/6/20) contained a number of factual errors.

The draft design proposed by FSANZ was the most expensive option and clearly exceeded the direction given to them by all State and Territory Food Forum Ministers well before representatives from beer, wine and spirit producers met with the Federal Minister to point this out.

Contrary to the assertion that ‘industry believed mandatory labelling was unnecessary’, we expressed our unanimous support for mandatory pregnancy labelling and offered options that would resonate with consumers and meet existing Food Code requirements.

The additional costs proposed by the bureaucrats would see consumers pay an extra $400m to have a drink, with ongoing higher costs due to more expensive print runs.

We do not make political donations. Whilst it would have been perfectly legitimate if Lion had attended the February 27 meeting, they were not in fact a participant. Lion’s declaration to the AEC relates to its attendance at business dialogue events that are hosted by all the major parties. Any suggestion that political donations are somehow relevant to our engagement with government on such policy issues is incorrect and offensive.

Your sincerely

Andrew Wilsmore
Chief Executive Officer
Alcohol Beverages Australia

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