Distilled Spirits Council Urges Government Support for Standard Drink Information on Alcohol LabelsApril 22, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC – The Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) today urged the Obama Administration to mark Alcohol Awareness Month by passing new alcohol labeling requirements to include basic dietary information on the labels of all beverage alcohol products.
For more than six years, numerous public health and consumer groups -- including the Consumer Federation of America, MADD, Dr. C. Everett Koop’s Shape Up America!, the American Medical Women’s Association, and the National Consumers League -- have been calling for the Federal government’s Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to require a standardized Serving Facts label on all beer, wine and distilled spirits products that list the serving size, calories per serving, alcohol content per serving, and the definition of a “standard drink.”
“The existing labeling rules for beer, wine and spirits are inconsistent and do not include basic information on all labels that would assist consumers in measuring and moderating their drinking,” said Peter Cressy, President of the Distilled Spirits Council.
“Any final label should serve consumer and public health objectives. The federal government’s current proposal fails this test.”
Cressy pointed out that under TTB’s current proposed Serving Facts label, companies would not be required to disclose the amount of alcohol per serving. The proposal would also prohibit a company from including on the label how much alcohol is in a standard drink, as defined by the U.S. Government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the basis for nutrition policy in the United States.
This standard drink information is used by federal and state agencies, including the Office of the Surgeon General, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in state driver’s manuals.
According to Multi-Sponsor Surveys, a majority of adults polled agree that adding standard drink information and the amount of alcohol per serving on all beer, wine and spirits labels will help them follow the Dietary Guidelines on alcohol.
The Council joined the public health community in urging TTB to revise its current proposal so that:
1.) Serving sizes are 1.5 fluid ounces for 80-proof distilled spirits, 12 fluid ounces for regular beer, 5 fluid ounces of wine
2.) The amount of alcohol per serving is required to be disclosed in the “Serving Facts” panel; and
3.) The text in the panel states “a standard drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol.”
“Knowing how much alcohol is in a standard drink of beer, wine or distilled spirits is key to making responsible drinking decisions,” said Cressy.
Proposed label supported by the distilled spirits industry