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My View: Pregnancy Labelling

Published:  18 January, 2007

Last month the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) outlined new guidelines for alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

The new guidelines were in agreement with the Department of Health and the Government's chief medical officer's views, which state that women should avoid alcohol if pregnant or trying to conceive.

Diageo Great Britain has called on the Government to

make the inclusion of pregnancy guidance on alcohol beverage labels mandatory, something we believe to be crucial if we are

to avoid confusion amongst women.

For example, if a pregnant woman walks into a shop and sees two bottles of wine, one with a pregnancy message on it and another without, we want to avoid her thinking that one is better for her than the other.

The updated NICE guidelines give the Government an opportunity to provide clear and consistent advice for

antenatal care in relation to alcohol.

We believe that all alcohol producers should include the

new guidance on their products. Now is the time for

the Government to make it a mandatory requirement.

But it is important to remember that information on labels is only one way to communicate a pregnancy message. Labelling will only be effective if it comes as part of a wider package of

responsible-drinking communication.

Kate Blakeley is head of social responsibility at Diageo GB