Alcohol foes push for change in warning label
The wording would be the same as at present: "GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems."
The new warning label would have to be in larger type, would add an attention-getting image (a red exclamation point in a triangle), and would be prominently placed on the front of all alcoholic-beverage containers. At present, the warnings are usually placed on the back of the bottle in small print.
The proposed change was submitted by four members of Congress and 121 purported "health and consumer groups" including the Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest. Curiously, these organizations have opposed efforts to place positive language about the health benefits of wine on labels as a counterbalance to the federal warning.
I have placed the complete text of the U.S. Federal Register announcement of this proposal online at http://www.wineloverspage.com/winenews/warning.shtml.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which administers warning-label enforcement, is seeking comments on the proposal, which must be received before Aug. 20, 2001, and may be sent by E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax to (202) 927-8602 or by postal mail to Chief, Regulations Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, P.O. Box 50221, Washington, DC 20091-0221.
If you are a wine-loving U.S. citizen, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the proposal and comment requirements and make your opinion known. If you're a wine lover from anywhere else in the world, we welcome your sympathy.
Thursday, May 24, 2001