TTB bottle size plans would ‘harm consumers’

12th November, 2019 by Melita Kiely

A consumer group has expressed concern over proposals from the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to eliminate standard bottle sizes for distilled spirits, arguing it would “harm consumers”.

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The TTB has put forward plans to eliminate standard bottles sizes for distilled spirits sold in the US

The TTB has been seeking public comments for its proposals to eliminate certain standards of fill for wine and distilled spirits.

Currently, the US regulations set specific standards of fill for wine and distilled spirits bottles sold within the US, including 750ml, 500ml, 375ml, 100ml and 50ml.

The TTB’s proposals plan to eliminate the guidelines to “provide consumers broader purchasing options”. It has presented plans to instead offer a minimum standard of fill for wine, and a minimum and maximum standard of fill for distilled spirits.

However, the National Consumers League (NCL), a private, not-for-profit advocacy group, said the removal of standards of fills for distilled spirits would “damage” consumers’ understanding when making purchases.

A letter to the TTB, signed by Sally Greenberg, executive director of the NCL, said: “We believe adoption of the proposal to eliminate most of the standards of fill for distilled spirits has great potential to harm consumers by damaging the common understanding of container sizes, which consumers have come to rely on since the end of Prohibition.

“Eliminating most standards of fill for distilled spirits would also have the effect of making consumers’ product comparisons at the point of purchase much more difficult.

“We also object to the proposal because of the danger that unscrupulous suppliers will engage in deceptive conduct by varying container sizes in an effort to increase profits.

“One of TTB’s principal missions is to minimise consumer confusion so that they have a sound understanding of the quality and quantity of alcohol beverage products. This proposal does not advent TTB’s mission, in our view.”

The public consultation closed on 30 October. A final decision from the TTB has not yet been announced.

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