Nutrition Labels: Taking Up Space or Providing Necessary Information?
For anyone that has worked in the wine industry, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) serves as a strict rule maker and regulator of wine labels. That is why ruling 2013-2, announced on May 28th, is so interesting. The ruling allows alcoholic beverages to voluntarily display Serving Facts nutritional information, granting wine producers the ability to choose for themselves.
So what does the ruling mean for wineries around the country? Producers now have the option to display the serving size, number of servings per container, calories, carbohydrates, fat content and fluid ounces of alcohol per serving. Along with these guidelines, the TTB has stated that updated labels do not need to apply for approval as long as the Serving Facts meet the criteria and format of the sample labels provided by TTB.
For now supplying Serving Facts nutritional information is voluntary but that could change. According to the TTB, this ruling serves as a way to create guidelines for nutritional labels while regulations on mandatory Serving Facts are being reviewed.
Although the ruling provides benefits for consumers, like helpful health information, many argue that there are downsides as well. The space to provide necessary information on wine labels is already limited; the addition of mandatory Serving Facts will only make that fit more difficult. Tracking the calories will be another difficult challenge as well as costly; many small companies might not be able to bear the price, especially for production of many different types of wines. Fortunately, it will take time for the TTB to approve of any further regulations so wineries and other alcoholic beverage producers can get used to the idea of required nutritional information on their products.
Learn more about the official ruling here: http://www.ttb.gov/rulings/2013-2.pdf