Oral testimony for Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau listening sessions on alcohol labeling

CSPI urges TTB to prioritize transparency and health over corporate interests as it drafts its rulemakings, and to delay no further in issuing proposed rules on mandatory alcohol content, nutrition, ingredient, and allergen labeling.

Click the link below to read the testimony in its entirety.

CSPI first petitioned TTB to issue rulemakings for mandatory alcohol content, nutrition, ingredient, and allergen labeling in 2003. After we sued TTB for letting 19 years pass without responding to our citizen petition, in November 2022 TTB sent a letter to CSPI and our co-plaintiffs in which the agency finally committed to issuing mandatory labeling rules and said it expected to issue them “within the next year.” Today, fifteen months later, there are no rulemakings in sight. TTB should have initiated these listening sessions back in 2022, if at all. Now, these eleventh-hour hearings will have the effect of further delaying the regulations. Nevertheless, we will use this opportunity to emphasize the importance of mandatory, comprehensive, on-package labeling, and urge the TTB to take action without further delay. TTB is requesting information on the extent to which businesses selling alcoholic beverages are already following voluntary alcohol content, nutrition, and allergen labeling guidelines. CSPI conducted a study of labels from the top wine and beer brands that were approved in TTB’s COLA database in 2021 and found that just 28% of beers had the full voluntary Serving Facts label and 2% had the voluntary Alcohol Facts label. An additional 35% of beers had a Statement of Average Analysis, but almost half of these were required to have this because they made calorie or carb claims, and are therefore not reflective of voluntary compliance. Only 17% of beers had what appeared to be complete ingredients lists and 6% had voluntary statements about the presence of specific ingredients or allergens, including wheat, shellfish, and gluten.