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Scientific Services Division

Director, Scientific Services Division

Cathy Halverson


The Scientific Services Division (SSD) provides comprehensive technical support to TTB's strategic goals of revenue collection and consumer protection. SSD produces authoritative scientific data, maintains state-of-the-art laboratories and a well-trained work-force, and continues in the development of new capabilities. SSD laboratories also provide technical support for TTB efforts in preventing unfair and unlawful market activities, minimizing technical trade barriers in international trade of regulated products, and facilitating export of U.S. products (example: Chemist Certification Program).

SSD is comprised of four laboratories: the Beverage Alcohol Laboratory, the Nonbeverage Products Laboratory, the Compliance Laboratory, and the Tobacco Laboratory.

We are committed to excellence in the quality of data that our laboratories generate.  SSD has a robust Quality Program headed by a Quality Manager and we work diligently to maintain ISO 17025 accreditation from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation for each of our laboratories.

What We Do

Beverage Alcohol Laboratory

  • Performs pre-import sample analysis
  • Performs analysis and provides advice on issues of trade and trade barriers
  • Performs sample analysis for TTB's beverage alcohol monitoring and compliance program
  • Performs analysis on consumer complaint samples
  • Performs sample analysis for harmful contaminants, adulterants, and limited and prohibited ingredients

Nonbeverage Products Laboratory

  • Drawback formula evaluation and sample analysis
  • Analysis of imported nonbeverage alcohol products (e.g. cooking wine)
    for excise tax determination
  • Analysis of samples submitted in support of a SETR/5010 tax credit application
  • Specially denatured spirits formula evaluation and sample analysis
  • Flavor verification for the Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division (ALFD) of TTB for flavors used in alcoholic beverages
  • Analysis of samples in support of TTB Field Operations audits and investigations

Tobacco Laboratory

  • Supports tax classification for any tobacco product submitted by internal and external customers
  • Provides technical support to TTB rulemaking
  • Supports investigations of tobacco industry by TTB auditors and investigators
  • Supports Intelligence Division programs
  • Provides technical support to state tax authorities on tobacco products
  • Provides technical support to other federal agencies on tobacco-related issues
  • Establishes and maintains professional relationships with the laboratory staff of domestic and international tobacco regulatory agencies for the purpose of sharing and enhancing technical expertise on tobacco
  • Develops analytical methodologies to expand technical capabilities and expertise on tobacco products and acquire modern analytical instruments to maintain a state-of-the-art laboratory

Compliance Laboratory

Our Compliance Laboratory facility in Walnut Creek, California, closed on January 31, 2023.

We have transitioned our Compliance Laboratory operations from our Walnut Creek facility to our National Laboratory Center in Beltsville, Maryland, consolidating our laboratory services in one location.

Effective immediately, please remember to send all product to our Beverage Alcohol Laboratory.

SSD Resources


For more information about the TTB laboratories contact the Scientific Services Division or see our Contact Us page for other TTB contact information.

Please direct correspondence to:

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
Director, Scientific Services Division
6000 Ammendale Road 
Beltsville, Maryland 20705-1250

Last reviewed: June 23, 2015
Last updated: February 7, 2023
Maintained by: Scientific Services Division