Announced Action for September 26, 2005

For Your Information

Commission authorization of the filing of staff comments: The Commission has authorized the staffs of the Bureaus of Economics and Consumer Protection and the Office of Policy Planning to send a letter to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury regarding alcohol labeling and advertising issues. In the comments, the staff recommends that the TTB’s regulations be amended to require that alcoholic beverage labels disclose both alcohol and nutrient content per serving, and that any proposed format be “understandable and informative to ordinary consumers.”

Specifically, the staff suggests that the TTB’s beverage alcohol labeling regulations should be modified to require disclosures regarding the serving size and the number of servings per container, and, for each serving, the quantity of pure alcohol, calories, fat, saturated fat, and carbohydrates. According to the staff, “Disclosing such information is likely to benefit consumers and competition . . . [and] will lead to better-informed consumers who will be able to make choices based on relevant attributes, and potentially result in useful product innovations.”

Finally, the staff recommends that the TTB, in consultation with public health agencies, establish the alcohol content in a standard “drink.” Once this amount has been established, marketers should be allowed to make truthful, non-deceptive claims comparing the quantity of alcohol in their beverages to that standard or to the recommendations for alcohol consumption contained in the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the comments was 4-0. The comments are available now as a link to this press release on the FTC’s Web site. (FTC File No. P984503; the staff contact is Janet M. Evans, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2125.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180