Australian Grape & Wine (AGW) has announced its disappointment at the decision of Food Forum Ministers to approve what the organisation says is a “flawed” label that will cost industry and consumers $400m.
In requiring the warning label to carry specific colours – rather than simply mandating legibility and contrast standards – AGW believes Food Forum Ministers have imposed significant costs on winemakers for no measurable public health benefit.
Currently, every other warning label in the Food Standards Code, such as those for allergens, require contrasting colours only.
AGW says Australia’s winemakers are hurting after a summer of drought, fire and smoke taint, followed by months of trading restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Many winemakers will reportedly find extreme difficulty in recovering – and this decision will result in even more cellar doors closing permanently and wine industry jobs lost. These losses will be felt most acutely by small businesses across regional Australia.
AGW is calling on the State Governments of Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania to “explain their decision to the large number of winemakers, their families and their employees in their states”.
AGW says, “Ultimately, this exercise has been driven by ideologically-driven, powerful and well-funded anti-alcohol groups with no regard for the people and communities of rural and regional Australia that depend on a thriving Australian wine industry”.
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