There is a new proposal to have the alcoholic beverage ingredients list printed on every bottle for consumers to see.
For grocery store products, it’s common to find a list of ingredients labeled conspicuously on the front or back. For alcohol, though, the nutritional facts aren’t as readily available nor required. Three significant organizations are suing the U.S. Treasury Department due to alcoholic beverage ingredients being left off distributed products.
The U.S Treasury Department monitors the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which is why this federal organization is intertwined with the legal battle. Though this is a new lawsuit, the fight for companies to apply alcoholic beverage ingredients to their labels started back in the early 2000s. In 2003, 66 organizations and eight individuals, including school deans, filed a petition requiring companies to institute comprehensive labeling for alcoholic beverages.
Though this proposal isn’t new in the United States, its traction and public attention are picking up from the Biden administration’s recent nutritional goals. According to Fooddive.com, Biden held a White House conference last week discussing nutrition and health, the first since the end of Nixon’s presidency. The meeting focused on providing Americans with better nutritional opportunities, which included discussions on food packaging with improved alcoholic beverage ingredient labeling.
After the meeting, the Biden administration decided to go forward with their new packaging initiatives, which would update food products with comprehensive labeling to aid Americans’ healthy shopping choices. Now that the President has committed to upgraded food labeling, many want his administration to push to include alcoholic beverage ingredients as well. Though the White House left out alcohol in its health initiatives, this public lawsuit which advantageously coincides with the new label policies could gain tangential traction.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the national trade association representing alcohol producers and distributors, committed to mandatory serving facts for bottles by June 2024. The information required on the updated alcoholic beverage ingredients labeling would include serving size, calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat per serving. This proposal would align better with food packaging standards, which already follow obligations to provide serving size and other nutritional details.
Many are pushing distributors to include alcoholic beverage ingredients and nutritional information for life-saving reasons. Since alcohol packaging isn’t as scrutinized as food items, critical details about its production are often left off bottles. The 2024 initiative would require distributors to include allergen and contamination details, helping the public decide what products to ingest.
Though beverage companies operating under the U.S. Treasury Department have more lenient requirements for labeling, those working under the FDA’s jurisdiction have stricter prerequisites. While the Treasury oversees the distribution of wines, distilled spirits, and some malt drinks, the FDA monitors beer, hard ciders, alcoholic sparkling beverages, and certain liquors. Though the FDA does a fine job ensuring these include alcoholic beverage ingredients, the greater public wants all types of drinks to have comprehensive labeling, including those under the Treasury’s authority.
The United States is still working on providing necessary nutritional details on food and beverage packaging. With the Biden administration heavily invested in upgrading labeling, it won’t take long before products like wine and spirits have correct and thorough health information on their packaging.