Minister wants wine producers to label on health

Wine producers may shortly have to display warning messages, similar to those on tobacco products, on wine bottles.
The Minister of Health, Me Tshabalala-Msimang, published draft regulations on 11 February 2005 in terms of which all alcoholic beverages shall need to carry one of the prescribed health warnings on the container’s label. Such warnings include, “Don’t drink and walk on the road, alcohol kills”, “Alcohol is a major cause of violence and crime” and “Alcohol is addictive”.
We can confirm that the size of the proposed warning messages must be at least one eight of the label’s size and must be written in black letters on a white background.
The draft regulations prescribe the wording of seven messages and producers need to alternate these messages over a twelve month period.
The date on which the regulations will come in to force is not yet known but producers should have at least 12 months prior warning to adapt their labels once the final regulations have been issued.
Any person who fails to display the health warnings are guilty of an offence and may receive a prison sentence of maximum 5 years.
Our advice to wine producers is to submit comments on the regulations as soon as possible to the Minister. Any such comments or presentations should be addressed to the Director-General: Health (for the attention of the Director: Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Department of Health, Private Bag X828, PRETORIA, 0001).