Ah, la Douce France. The country where labels on bottles of wine are seen as works of art and the description of the meritorius delights of Bacchus are regarded as prose. Since a couple of months there has been a slightly noticeable addition. The icon of a woman with a bulging belly gulping down a glass, with a large diagonal line over it. The female is supporting her back with her arm and hand. This is the pose what the two fingers is to smokers: the recognisable stance for expectant mothers. Trying to counterbalance the weight of the rug rat in the womb.
Why is this on bottles of French wine? Legislation has forced wine producers to but this 'warning' label on their products because... Guess what? Drinking alcohol can cause damage to your foetus.
We have known about that for years. Foetuses can develop congenital deformity because of alcohol syndrome. In my opinion it is not the drinks industry who should inform the public about their health risks when consuming their products, but it is a national awareness campaign, gynaecologists, the like that should inform the Citoyens of the dangers of unhealthy living. There have been awareness campaigns in the past that have had their benefits. Drinking and driving, health risks involved with smoking,... It always boils down to the responsibility of the individual. A little icon like this will not stop pregnant woman from stomaching a glass of wine. If I were a manufacturer of some sorts I would not go around telling people my product is bad for them. It would defeat the purpose of being in the business in the first place: try and make a handsome/sustainable profit. I hope there will be an evaluation after a while if this has had an impact one way or the other. It will be pretty hard to determine by any standards. Before this issue caused a rhubarb back in 2004 there were stats registering births with physical abnormalities, mental impairment, and behavioural problems (all symptoms of the alcohol syndrome). How many of them were actually found to be directly linked? If public awareness has been raised by the extensive coverage (which is a good thing, don't get me wrong) and doctors will associate the symptoms with the syndrome this could mean an increase in the stats in short term. I think we will probably have to wait a decade or so to really see if this has had an impact.
But eventually it just all boils down to this: Don't drink if your preggers. Anyone with a bit of common sense betwixt their auricles knows why. It's that simple. Cheers!