Have you have noticed the little warning symbol that is a crossed-out circle containing a pregnant woman drinking wine that’s appeared on French bottles in the last year or so? Its a strangely charming design, something you’d never see on a U.S. product. It is a relatively new law in France, mandating that either the symbol or a written warning must be on the label. Apparently the instances of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome are many, with mothers reporting ignorance in regards to the affect of alcohol on their fetus. So, the legislation was put in place to mandate the warning symbol. Now the United States, not to be outdown, has a placed ban on wine with that symbol! I can’t find much information about it, but I’ll link to the blog that alerted me to the ban. According to the Washington Post article I linked to above, “bottles with the logo have been turned back at the U.S. border because liquor imported to the United States requires warnings to be in English.” Hmmm. So that graphic symbol is in French, huh? “We do prohibit the French (or any other country’s) government health warning,” Arthur H. Resnick, spokesman for the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau said in an e-mail. “We feel that consumers are likely to be confused and possibly misled by a proliferation of government warnings.” Obviously some bottles are making it past the border, as I’ve seen quite a few. However, for those producers who don’t want to risk their product being turned away, they have a big, expensive job of replacing the labels of the bottles headed for the U.S. market ahead of them.

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