Vol. 10, No. 1  August 1998

Senator Thurmond Proposes Expanded Warning Label

In response to wine industry efforts to promote the health benefits of drinking and include an implicit health claim on wine labels, U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond recently introduced legislation (S.1894) that would add to alcohol labels the following language (in bold type) about the potential negative health effects of moderate alcohol consumption:

GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may lead to alcoholism. (3) Moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages may cause health problems such as hypertension and breast cancer.

We encourage readers to contact their Senators, asking their support and/or co-sponsorship of S.1894 (and its successor bill in the next Congress). To e-mail a prepared letter or personal message directly to your Senators, visit our website at <http://www.cspinet.org/booze/s1894.htm>.

In related news: A two-year old lawsuit to allow health claims on alcoholic-beverage labels is advancing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The suit by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a "free-market" think tank, asserts that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms’ refusal to permit a health claim violates consumers’ and producers’ First Amendment rights. CSPI is following the suit closely.

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