By Andy Young

The Winemakers' Federation of Australia has called on all Governments to avoid "knee-jerk reactions to scaremongering campaigns" regarding calls for plain packaging on alcohol products.

Alcohol Beverages Australia has also dismissed calls for plain packaging, with both organisations calling into question the research used to back up the original claims.

The WFA said it is frustrated that the calls for plain packaging have been based on selective quoting of publicly unavailable 'research' and scaremongering campaigns which do not provide the public with accurate evidenced-based information about alcohol consumption.

Tony Battaglene, WFA Chief Executive, also said he was concerned about the extended link to draconian plain packaging and graphic labelling on wine bottles. 

“These ads might be lauded in the advertising world but, like most paid advertisements, they do not provide consumers with accurate, evidenced-based information” said Battaglene.  

“We all need to ensure that health policy, particularly in relation to alcohol harm, is supported by science, not spin.   

 “Australians are drinking less alcohol overall than any time in the previous 50 years – and that comes directly from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The hard-drinking myths perpetuated by the temperance movement in this country are simply not true and belong in a different century. In modern Australia, the very large majority of Australians drink alcohol in a responsible and balanced manner”, Battaglene added.  

“We acknowledge that there are tragic incidences of alcohol harm and misuse, but the picture of the harm, and the most effective ways to address it, is complex. Governments already have strategically targeted policies in place to address these harms, and we support those policies.  

“The Australian wine industry has a proud tradition of providing accurate, evidence-based information for consumers about standard drinks and warnings about drinking while pregnant.   

“None of us want to see our iconic Australian wine brands on tables at restaurants, or in our homes, in plain packaging with graphic images. Any move towards that would be devastating to Australia’s 2,600 winemakers and would not be effective in changing behaviours of problem drinkers.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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