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Warning Labels on Alcoholic Beverages

Warning labels similar to "smoking is hazardous to health" are mandatory on alcoholic drink bottles effective 1 October. According to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), the General Standards for the Labelling of Pre-packaged Alcoholic Beverages require that alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content of 0.5% or above must bear the warning "excessive drinking is hazardous to health" on their labels. Hong Kong traders dealing in alcoholic drinks on the mainland should pay attention to this rule.

According to AQSIQ, the latest General Standards for the Labelling of Pre-packaged Alcoholic Beverages took effect on 1 October, with modifications and further clarifications on standard names, the alcohol content of alcoholic beverages, the labelling of food additives, warning words for beer, as well as the lifting of the requirement for labelling of alcoholic beverages with an alcoholic content of less than 10% vol. The main changes include changing the alcoholic strength of beverages from "0.5% vol to 65% vol" to "over 0.5% vol"; requiring alcoholic beverages already subject to industrial products production permit control to indicate the sign and number of their production permits; and making clear the content of compulsory labelling.

This is the first time China has required enterprises to add health warnings like "excessive drinking is hazardous to health" and "not advisable for pregnant women and children" in the form of national standards.

Warnings such as "excessive drinking is hazardous to health" and "do not drive or engage in other danger causing activities after drinking" on the outer packaging of alcoholic drinks not only embody a "people-oriented" concept but help enterprises increase their sense of social responsibility, improve their image, obtain consumer consensus and raise the market share of the products. At the same time, strictness in the production of similar warnings will also reduce unnecessary troubles and economic losses.

More restrictions on advertisements for alcoholic beverages in China are expected following the implementation of these new standards. Most countries have adopted restrictive measures and carried out publicity and education on alcohol advertisements.

Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council
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