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Posted: Monday, 16 July 2018 09:28

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Bigger Health Warnings will Damage Soul of France, say Top Chateaux

July 16: Sixty four of the Top French Chateaux including DRC, Petrus, Chateau d’Yquem, Cheval Blanc and Pol Roger and Krug champagnes have signed a memorandum to the Health Ministry pleading strongly against the proposed measure to be implemented by the end of 2018 to affix 2 cm wide sticker on the front, warning pregnant women against health risk, saying this will damage the soul of France around the world

The Chateaux warned the government that bigger health warnings as proposed by the Health Ministry will damage the Soul of France and make it a ‘criminal product’ in a stinging rebuke to the government’s efforts to reduce alcohol consumption among pregnant women and those under 18 years age. The signatories sent the memorandum 3 weeks ago about the step proposed to be implemented by the year-end.

French producers are already required to highlight a message advising zero alcohol consumption during pregnancy though there are no legal limits to follow. Besides there is no  obligation yet to include a message warning against underage drinking.  

The Report in Telegraph UK claims that 25% of pregnant women continue to drink alcohol during pregnancy- a number that seems to be very high and suggests ignorance about drinking habits and harms possible, including binge drinking in teenagers..

Unlike in India where the Constitution encourages the States to enforce prohibition, there are no such laws in France but the drinking by young women would seem to create fears and inculcate wine drinking as a bad habit. France is also struggling with the relatively new phenomenon of teenage binge drinking.

The producers of fine wine wrote the protest saying, “We are the guardians of an exceptional heritage: French wine making,” they wrote. “Every day, by exporting our produce, we share with the world, novices and wine buffs alike, a part of the soul of France.” “Every day, our cellars, our domains and chateaus, our wine making landscapes, welcome thousands of tourists come to discover this France, bosom of the art de vivre that is the envy of the world and where wine plays a leading role.”

The government risked sacrificing all their endeavours by turning wine into a “criminal product”, they warned. Pierre-Henri Gaget, of Maison Louis Jadot, said, “We don’t carry the plague and don’t want to be tarred with the same brush as cigarette manufacturers. To stick two warnings on the front label with a red line through them is unbearable. Next they’ll be slapping photos with cancer victims and saying wine is to blame.”

He said the “spontaneous” protest by almost 70 top chateaus was just the start should the government persist with this line. “Next time, we’ll be 200, then 500. They (government) have overstepped the mark.”

The results are no as severe as shown by Studies before, A Study last year and reported in delWine had suggested that Experts agree that binge or heavy drinking during pregnancy is harmful for the fetus but not much is known on how little a pregnant woman could drink without harming the unborn, according to a paper published on Monday in the journal BMJ Open which suggests nevertheless that 2 glasses of wine a week would not harm the baby.

Last year, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised that women should avoid drinking completely if there is any chance they might be pregnant. Guidelines in UK also recommend that if you are pregnant or think you are, the safest approach is to abstain. Yet, according to CDC about 10% of pregnant women in the US age 18 to 44, report that they've had at least one alcoholic beverage in the past 30 days while pregnant.

Warnings were first introduced in France in 2007 after several mothers of babies diagnosed with foetal alcohol syndrome sued the government for failing to alert them to the dangers. More than 8,000 babies are born each year in France with mental or physical health problems caused by their mothers’ consumption of alcohol. Unfortunately, many such Articles do not differentiate between wine and other alcohols.

But all the women surveyed by delWine confirmed that none of them or their friends drank whisky or other hard liquor during pregnancy. So it would appear logical that drinking a glass or half with meals during pregnancy, 3-4 times a week, would not create a medical problem; the doctor's advice would eventually prevail even though the current Study seems to ok a couple of glasses a week. delWine would like to add a rider that the drink must be limited to half a glass of red wine and preferably not on consecutive 4 days.

Here are a few of the earlier related Articles on the subject:

French Producers upset over new Warning Regulation for Pregnant Mothers

Oh Rats! Alcohol may harm Generations of Pregnant Women

Canadian Ad against Wine for Pregnant Women Criticized

Study may Keep away Oz Pregnant Women from Wine

Study: Moderate Drinking may not Harm Pregnancy

Controversial Study on Wine and Pregnant Women

Study Condones Wine during Pregnancy

Wine & Health: Wine and Pregnant Woman

Subhash Arora

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