State and territory ministers have signed off on the introduction of mandatory pregnancy warning labels on alcohol.Does this sound at all familiar? It certainly should, and it will to smokers. Anyone want to bet that it'll stop there and will not progress towards huge pictures of diseased livers covering two thirds of the label of whatever's your preferred tipple? Any takers? No? Yeah, thought not.
Ministers responsible for food regulation met in Melbourne today to consider their response to former federal health minister Neal Blewett's review of food labelling.
Dr Blewett's most controversial recommendation, that a "traffic light" system be introduced to help consumers make healthier food choices, has been rejected.
The traffic light system of colour coding would tell a consumer, at a glance, if the food had high, medium or low amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt.
Instead, ministers have agreed that public health, consumer and industry groups be consulted in the development of an alternative front-of-pack labelling system, which is to be considered in June and hoped to be in place by the end of next year.
They also want to give industry two years before making pregnancy warning labels on alcohol mandatory.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand is drafting a standard for nutrition and health-related claims and ministers also agreed to the development of a national nutrition policy.
The federal government has come under fire from public health and consumer groups for opting not to pursue the traffic light system, but the food manufacturing industry has welcomed the move.
Don't get smug about this being more Australian nannying. It is, but I think it's as much to do with Australian politicians having less on their plates than their counterparts in some parts of the world, especially Europe and the US, and so more time to listen to the whining of the nannies, moralists, control freaks and wowsers. Wherever you are, this is coming to a label near you soon.
And I can't help but feel that if more people had stuck up for the smokers it wouldn't be happening at all.