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Alcohol labeling: Upcoming opportunities to inform potential content and design

Alcohol beverages do not currently carry the nutritional panel seen on everything from breakfast cereal to frozen vegetables. What information do you think should be included on alcohol labels?

The U.S. Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is seeking individuals and groups to provide informational verbal and written comments on the potential content and design of detailed labeling on alcohol beverages.

There are three ways you or your organization can participate, none of which are lobbying

  1. Submit written comments via before 9 p.m. on Friday, March 29. More information on written comments is included below and in the attachment. 
  2. Listen to the virtual listening sessions on Wednesday, February 28, 7 to 9 a.m., and Thursday, February 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you plan to attend either session, please register before 9 a.m. on Tuesday, February 27.
  3. Request to speak at a listening session. After you've registered to attend a listening session, you can indicate whether you'd like to speak. Please note, speaking slots are limited! 

More information on written comments

Many comments are brief and based on the commenter’s personal experience or concerns. Most comments do not include citations or links to peer reviewed literature. You do not need to be an expert!

The following questions were posed to consumers, parents and/or public health professionals:

  • Do you think consumers get enough information on alcohol labels?
  • Would you like to see a full list of ingredients, especially allergens?
  • Would you like to see calories, carbohydrates, allergens, or  a complete list of ingredients on labels? Would this information be useful or misleading?

These questions can be answered from your direct experiences as a consumer, parent, or community member. You can use the statements below to help you frame your thoughts and structure your comments:

  • The alcohol industry tells us to drink responsibly but doesn’t provide the information we need to make responsible choices. Alcohol producers should provide lists of ingredients, allergens and calories on every container or stop telling us to do the impossible.
  • Consumers see information on ingredients, allergens and calorie counts on beverages and food. We ingest alcohol beverages, like food and beverages, transparency means alcohol beverages carry the same amount of information as the alcohol-free beverages we purchase.
  • The number of Americans who self-identify as allergic has increased in the past 20 years. These consumers cannot feel confident about any beverage that doesn’t fully list the ingredients.
  • Obesity is a significant health issue in America, calories on alcohol beverages provides consumers with another tool to make informed choices.
  • Increasingly, ready-to-drink cocktails replace traditional mixed drinks. Consumers have no idea what is in these beverages, how many calories, what additives and ingredients, how much added sugar. There is no reason we know the ingredients in a candy bar but have no idea what’s in a ready-to-drink cocktail.
  • Major errors in alcohol beverage development cost lives, FourLoko for example. Ingredients listed on the label may have reduced the number of incidents or assisted emergency personnel.
  • Listing detailed nutrition information persuaded some food manufacturers to reformulate their products to be more appealing. That approach benefits all consumers whether they read the label, or not.
  • Contents and calories need to appear on each package, a QR code or website isn’t a practical alternative. Many people don’t have smart phones that would enable them to use a QR code-based website at a retailer. Many retailers don’t have wi-fi to enable an internet search at that location.   
  • The alcohol industry has repeatedly proved that self-regulation and self-disclosure is ineffective. It is time for the Federal Government to assure consumers know what they are consuming. Voluntary labeling was not adopted, the advertising guidelines have serious gaps and complainants are responsible for dissemination of the rulings.

For detailed instructions on how to submit written comments, please view the attachment.