University of Otago’s new research in Wellington, New Zealand indicates high deficiency of alcohol beverage containers’ current health warning labels. Authors of the research study suggest that there could probably be a requirement of mandatory standardized labelling which sketches out cancer, drink-driving, pregnancy, and other significant alcohol-related risks. In the research, it was found that details about health risks generally lacked on some containers. For instance, drink-driving was warned by merely 19% of containers. Other containers showed pea-size pregnancy warnings and total absence of any labels.

Journal Drug and Alcohol Review published the findings of the research led by the university’s Tessa Madeleine Gray and Georges Tinawi.

Discrepancy between What is Known to Work and What is Actually Printed on Labels

59 alcoholic beverage containers were examined by the researchers in New Zealand, which included ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, featured wines and beers, and imported and local brands. Labels on cheapest RTDs and wines and common beer varieties were studied in the research. Astonishing inconsistencies and variations between health warning messages on the beverages were found during the study. Beers predominantly displayed pregnancy-related warnings (80%); however, they are found to be largely marketed to men compared to women.

Moreover, warning labels were observed to be noticeably smaller than promotional elements on the containers. On average, less than one percent of a container’s total surface area was occupied by warnings. Gray said it is clear that less attention is given to consumer’s right to know about a product’s health risks, whereas marketing material dominates the scene.

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