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Alcohol warning labels to be larger

Federal regulators published new rules Wednesday to require more prominent health warning labels on alcoholic beverage containers. The rules followed warnings by some lawmakers that they might take new legislative steps if the labels could not be read easily by consumers. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms issued revised rules in the Federal Register to include prominently the phrase "Government Warning," capitalized and in bold type. That phrase will precede wording specified by a 1988 law to educate consumers about the dangers of drunken driving and alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

The regulations, which become effective in nine months, also specify the minimum type size of the wording and say the lettering "must not be compressed so that the statement is not readily legible."

Warning labels began appearing on beer, wine and liquor containers produced after Nov. 18, 1989, under interim rules that some lawmakers had protested would permit barely readable warnings that blended into other printing.

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