Friday, February 14, 2014
TTB Issues New Guidelines for 'Gluten-Free' Labeling
The labeling of alcoholic beverage is regulated by the Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau of the United States Treasury (TTB).
On Tuesday, TTB announced that it has completed its review of how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) final rule on the use of the term 'gluten‐free' in the labeling of products under FDA’s labeling jurisdiction impacts TTB’s interim policy on gluten content statements in the labeling and advertising of wines, distilled spirits, and malt beverages, previously set forth in TTB Ruling 2012‐2.
As a result of TTB's review and consultation with FDA, the Bureau is updating its policy on gluten labeling. Given the important consumer health considerations relating to 'gluten-free' claims, TTB believes it is important to be as consistent as possible with the regulations FDA issued.
Under TTB's updated policy, alcoholic beverages that are made from ingredients that do not contain gluten, such as wines fermented from grapes or other fruit and distilled spirits distilled from materials other than gluten-containing grains may continue to make 'gluten-free' claims in the same way allowed in the new FDA regulations for inherently gluten-free products. Consistent with the new FDA regulations, TTB will continue to consider 'gluten-free' label claims for alcoholic beverages that are made from gluten-containing grains to be misleading to consumers who are seeking to avoid the consumption of gluten for health reasons.
However, products made from gluten-containing grains may be labeled with a statement that the product was “Processed,” “Treated,” or “Crafted” to remove gluten, if that claim is made together with a qualifying statement that warns the consumer that the gluten content of the product cannot be determined and that the product may contain gluten.
TTB may revise this policy after FDA issues a final rule or other guidance with respect to fermented and hydrolyzed products. In the interim, we remind consumers that the FDA has determined there is still no scientifically valid way to evaluate the claims that beers made from gluten-containing grains can be processed in a way that removes gluten and that there is inadequate evidence about whether such methods are effective.
TTB's Revised Interim Policy on Gluten Content Statements in the Labeling and Advertising of Wine, Distilled Spirits, and Malt Beverages (TTB Ruling 2014-2) can be found on the TTB Website at: http://www.ttb.gov/rulings/2014-2.pdf.