Current wine label rules overseen by the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) are not enough, according to various consumer groups advocating for more information about alcohol content, calories and ingredients. According to Wine-Searcher, the consumer groups have seen other food producers and restaurants being more transparent about nutritional information, and want winemakers to do the same.
Letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Consumer Federation of America and the National Consumers League have joined forces in the movement for better wine labeling, sending a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who oversees the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. In the letter, they expressed their displeasure with the present lack of detail on wine labels.
Wine-Searcher reported that Thomas Gremillion, director of food policy at the Consumer Federation of America, said "Consumers want to know what is in their food." He added, "Consumers should not have to forego those preferences, or make heroic research efforts, when purchasing a product just because it contains alcohol."
One of the additional concerns voiced by Gremillion and others is alarm over the obesity trend in the U.S. Since alcohol is a "leading source" of calories in the American diet, they say, providing nutritional and caloric information on wine labels would help shoppers make better decisions in that regard.
The Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau began a process of modernizing the regulations governing labeling and advertising of alcoholic beverages November 26, 2018. On that date, the TTB submitted its proposed rules and invited public commentary on the issue. According to FoodDive, the goal of the TTB's proposal was to "make current regulations simpler and clearer for business owners so that compliance will be easier for industry members." The March 26 deadline for public comments is drawing near, creating a sense of urgency for the consumer groups.
Online Resources for Label Approval
As FoodDive reported, the situation is a complex one, including the requirement for a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) issued by the TTB before bottling can proceed. The TTB provides extensive guidelines and resources for COLAs on its website, including a link to COLAs Online, which allows industry members to bypass traditional paper forms and complete the certification and approval by internet.
If you're in the process of updating your labels to keep up with government regulations, a helpful place to begin is viewing our high-quality label printers at Argon Technology's U.S. store or Canada page.