Concerns over plans to ‘modernise’ alcohol labels

25th February, 2019 by Melita Kiely

A trio of consumer groups has criticised the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) over its proposal to “modernise” alcohol labels without making nutritional information mandatory.

spirits bottles

A letter to the TTB has raised concerns over the lack of mandatory allergen labelling for alcoholic beverages

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Federation of America, and National Consumers League have written a letter to US Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin slating the TTB for not requiring alcoholic beverage bottles to include information about alcohol content, serving size, calories, ingredients and allergen information.

The trio of groups petitioned the TTB in 2003, calling for this information to be a legal requirement on alcohol labels.

The TTB issued proposed rules to require compulsory allergen labelling in 2006 and serving information in 2007 – but neither has been finalised as of yet.

In the letter, the groups said: “Not only do consumers want this information, the TTB needs it to fulfil its statutory obligation under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA) of 1935, which directs the TTB to ensure that alcohol labelling and advertising ‘provide the consumer with adequate information as to the identity and quality of the products’.”

The letter continued: “While the TTB may believe that the issues are complex, the agency has now had over a decade to consider them, and rule makings to provide this key information that are already well under way. These rules should be prioritised under any effort to modernise alcohol labelling.

“The TTB cannot and should not set aside the most pressing consumer issues on its docket. We urge you to instruct the TTB to withdraw the proposed rule and to issue a new proposal providing a mandatory, standardised declaration covering alcohol content by percentage and amount, serving size, calories, ingredients, allergen information and other information relevant to consumers.”

The Spirits Business has contacted the TTB for comment.

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