South African Government

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Health on regulations for alcoholic beverages

3 Sep 2007
New regulations on alcoholic beverages

3 September 2007

The Department of Health has published regulations requiring that container
labels for alcoholic beverages must contain health messages highlighting the
negative effects of alcohol consumption.

The regulations, published under the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants
Act, are as an outcome of several years of consultation with role-players to
address the challenge of alcohol abuse in the country. Alcohol consumption is a
major factor in cases of violence and trauma and contributes significantly to
non-natural causes of death in the country.

The publication of these regulations which come into effect within the next
18 month is part of the Department of Health's ongoing campaign to promote
healthy lifestyles.

The health messages that should be printed on the labels of all alcoholic
beverages include the following:

* Alcohol reduces driving ability, don't drink and drive
* Don't drink and walk on the road, you may be killed
* Alcohol increases your risk to personal injuries
* Alcohol is a major cause of violence and crime
* Alcohol abuse is dangerous to your health
* Drinking during pregnancy can be harmful to your unborn baby.

The regulations require that the health messages be visible and be on a
space specifically devoted for it which must be at least one eight of the total
size of the container label. The health message should be in any of the South
African languages but must be in the same language as that of the container
label.

The regulations also prohibit the use of words such as 'health,' 'healthy'
or other words or symbols claiming that the alcoholic beverage has health
properties.

Any person who contravenes the provisions of these regulations shall be
guilty of an offence and upon conviction be liable to a fine or to imprisonment
for a period not exceeding five years or to both such fine and
imprisonment.

Contact:
Sibani Mngadi
Spokesperson
Cell: 082 772 0161

Issued by: Department of Health
3 September 2007