Concerns from national alcohol companies have prompted the Yukon Liquor Corp., to stop putting warning labels about the risk of cancer on all bottles and cans sold in the Whitehorse liquor store, at least for now.
The warning labels make a link between alcohol use and cancer risk and encourages moderate drinking.
The corporation was the first in Canada to roll out new labels in the store in November as part of the federally funded Northern Territories Alcohol Study.
The label phase of the study was intended to run for eight months, followed by a survey to assess the impact.
Concerns have also been raised at the local level about the study’s impact on long-standing labels that read: “Warning, drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause birth defects.”
The liquor corporation has been attaching these labels to bottles and cans since 1991 but stopped doing so in the Whitehorse store in November when the study involving the new labels was launched.
The drinking-while-pregnant warning labels continue to be applied to alcohol containers at the five other liquor corporation stores across Yukon.
Liquor corporation spokesperson Patch Groenewegen said about the alcohol industry’s response, “There’s a large range of concerns.”
They centre on “legislative authority, label placement and trademark infringement, defamation and damages related to messages on labels affixed to brand-owner products without consent,” she said.
“We’ve stopped applying labels to any new products coming into the store,” she said about a decision that was made this week.
Labels will remain on bottles and cans that are already on the shelves.