Through a notification dated 5 February 2019, the FSSAI has issued directions regarding the font size of statutory warning on the labels of Alcoholic Beverages. The FSSA had notified the Food Safety and Standards (Alcoholic Beverages Standards) Regulations 2018 on 19 March 2018. Under regulation on Specific Labelling Requirements for Alcoholic Beverages, clause 5.12of these Regulations specifies the requirement of statutory warning “CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL IS INJURIOUS TO HEALTH” and “BE SAFE DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE” on the label of alcoholic beverages with the font size of not less than 3mm. As per this notification, the transition period up to 1 April 2019 was given to Food Business Operators to comply with these regulations.
FSSAI has received representations from various stakeholders in respect of the challenges they are facing in complying with the requirement of the font size of 3mm on the smaller packs of alcoholic beverages. The FSSAI has discussed this issue on the 13th meeting of the Scientific Panel on Water and Beverages held on 15 January 2019. The Scientific Committee has made the following recommendations after detailed deliberations
- For Alcoholic Beverages that have a pack size of up to 200 ml the fond size of the statutory warning shall be not less than 1.5mm
- For Alcoholic beverages that have a pack size of more than 200ml the font size of the above-mentioned statutory warning shall not be less than 3mm
In view of the recommendations of the Scientific Panel the FSSAI has decided to permit the font size of the statutory warning for Alcoholic Beverages as mentioned above pending due process of making amendments of the Food Safety and Standards (Alcoholic Beverages Standards) Regulations 2018.
About Statutory Warnings
In India drunken driving is one of the major causes of deaths and unlike safety warning about smoking on cigarettes packets, there was no safe driving or health warning on labels of alcoholic beverages. The FSSAI has now regulated statutory warnings labels on alcohol bottle-labels from April 2019. All alcohol manufacturers, domestic or foreign, will have to follow this direction on labels of alcoholic beverages which are to be written in English but FSSAI has also permitted the warning to be written in regional or local languages.
Besides safety statutory warnings, it is also sometimes a labeling requirement to have health warnings for alcoholic beverages in several countries. Sometimes alcohol manufactures themselves list health warnings voluntarily on alcohol product labels which includes caloric content, nutrition, or country of origin, etc.