As we previously reported, the Treasury Department released a 2022 report on Competition in the Markets for Beer, Wine, and Spirits (the Competition Report) recommending, in part, that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) revive or initiate rulemaking to consider labeling requirements that include alcohol and nutritional information per-serving, major food allergens, and/or ingredients. TTB has announced that it will hold two virtual listening sessions on this topic on February 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., EST; and February 29, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., EST. The deadline to register to virtually attend either session is February 27, 12 p.m., EST,. Interested parties may register for either session here. These listening sessions present a unique opportunity to provide input to TTB at the early stages of a rulemaking that could potentially affect labels across the industry.

The Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act), see 27 U.S.C. 205(e)(2), does not require alcohol beverage labels to disclose a full list of ingredients, any major food allergens used in the production of alcohol beverages, or nutritional information such as the amount of calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, or other nutrients. Nevertheless, TTB is authorized to promulgate regulations that will provide adequate information as to the identity and quality of alcohol beverages. Notably, TTB regulations do require the disclosure of certain specified ingredients that FDA determined posed a recognized health problem and require labels to disclose the presence of FD&C Yellow No. 5, cochineal extract or carmine, and sulfites (when present in alcohol beverages at a level of 10 or more parts per million). These TTB regulations also require a warning statement when aspartame is present. See 27 CFR 4.32, 5.63, and 7.63.

TTB has also issued voluntary standards for nutrient content statements, see TTB Ruling 2013–2; disclosures of major food allergens, see 27 CFR 4.32a–4.32b, 5.82–5.83, and 7.82–7.83; and requirements for alcohol content disclosures for most alcohol beverages, see 27 CFR 4.36, 5.65, and 7.65. Notably, 19 years ago, TTB sought comments on alcohol content, nutritional information, major food allergen, and ingredient labeling. See 70 Fed. Reg. 22274 (Apr. 29, 2005). But consistent with the recommendation in the Competition Report, TTB is now seeking updated input on these topics.

To facilitate the listening sessions, TTB has developed a list of the following questions:

  1. Do consumers believe that they are adequately informed by the information currently provided on alcohol beverage labels?
  2. Is alcohol content per serving, and nutritional information (such as calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat) per serving important for consumers in deciding whether to purchase or consume a particular alcohol beverage? Would a full list of ingredients, and/or major food allergens, be important information for consumers in making their purchasing or consumption decisions? In what ways would this information be useful, and in what ways could it be misleading? Is some of this information more important than the rest?
  3. What types of per-serving nutritional information, such as calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat, should be included?
  4. Would requiring this information on labels be expected to increase the cost of the products and, if so, by how much? To what extent are businesses already following voluntary guidelines for this information? Are there alternative ways of providing the information, for example by allowing information to be provided through a website using a quick response code (QR code) or website address on the label?
  5. How would any new mandatory labeling requirements particularly affect small businesses and new businesses entering the marketplace?

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