Have you ever entered a store and saw alcoholic beverages displayed freely? Did you ever think for these to be legal and marketing-wise, effective? Well, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently ordered the concealment of all types of alcoholic beverages in all types of stores in the country.
In fact, they issued a new circular, Circular No. 2019-006 or more known as the Guidelines in Commercial Display, Selling, Promotion, and Advertising of Alcoholic Beverages and Beverages That Contain Alcohol back on September 24th, 2019.
What does the Circular entail?
Obviously, the circular issued by the FDA entails all stores who sell alcoholic beverages to somehow “hide” them or place them in a place where it’s designated as conspicuous. They are ordering all types of stores from supermarkets, groceries, hypermarkets, convenience stores, even sari-sari stores.
The FDA said that with the technology and the packaging of the market evolving, they would need to be extra sure that everyone is protected; for both local and international markets. So, they explain that the goal of these guidelines of this particular order by the FDA is to protect consumers, especially children.
General rule of alcohol
All owners and operators of retail stores and outlets should be aware of the general rule in terms of selling alcohol; that it shouldn’t be sold to minors or to people who are below eighteen (18) years old.
More so, these owners and operators will be held responsible for any instance that this rule is not followed.
Of course, this is the primary rule in the selling of alcoholic beverages. Therefore, all stores must generally abide by this and if any are caught, fines and consequences will follow.
Placement of alcohol
In addition to the general rule, the circular also discusses where alcoholic beverages should be placed inside the store.
As you can see in the circular, the FDA says that alcoholic beverages should NEVER be stacked together with other liquids such as juice, coffee, etc.
All alcoholic beverages, regardless of type of packaging, shall only be displayed in designated conspicuous area in all convenience stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets, groceries and other food retailing stores with prominent signage “ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES.” Other beverages with alcohol regardless of level of alcohol content like alcopop (flavoured beverage with alcohol content) shall likewise be displayed in this same designated area.”
Furthermore, the FDA also wants these beverages to be not accessible by children. As much as possible, the FDA is prohibiting the stores to make it easily accessible to the public. Thus, a clear indication that they plan to hide alcoholic beverages.
Labels of alcohol
After the FDA gave the order to all stores about how their alcoholic beverages are displayed and stacked, they also said that companies should make the labels of these alcoholic beverages to appear as “not appealing” to the public.
They’ve clearly mentioned in the circular that the packaging or labeling of these should not be, in any way, appealing to the children.
Packaging and labelling materials shall not be appealing to children.Sanctions and penalties over violations of any of the provisions of this FDA Circular shall follow the Rules of Republic Act No. 10611 and its IRR, otherwise known as the Food Safety Act of 2013.”
As we can see, the FDA also suggest that general stores and retailers emphasize the fact that a drink has alcoholic level, if it has any.
What is the goal of the circular?
If you would read the circular, you will notice there that the FDA says that because of the improving and innovative technologies that alcoholic beverage companies have, they are enforcing this circular to be able to control the people from consuming it.
In addition to that, the circular also says that a lot of minors are currently fond of consuming alcoholic beverages; therefore, this should be regulated more.
What do you think of the circular? Would ordering all stores to hide alcoholic beverages be enough for the betterment of the health of the Filipino people? Could this somehow restrict minors from purchasing or from buying alcoholic products?
The circular was submitted last month and as per the memo from the FDA, the circular should take effect immediately. This is why it is so easy to notice the change that happened with how liquors and all products with alcohol content are hidden in different stores.