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Industry Circular

Number: 86-13

Date: October 6, 1986

Department of the Treasury

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

Washington, D.C. 20226


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Importers and Others Concerned.

Purpose. The Bureau is issuing this circular to advise industry members of the acceptance of Austrian certificates of analysis denoting diethylene glycol (DEG) test results.

Background. In July 1985, information was received that Austrian wines had been found in Europe containing DEG. DEG, a chemical commonly used for industrial purposes, is not allowed as a direct food additive under Food and Drug laws. Therefore, DEG added to any food product (wine) is not authorized and any such imported food would be considered illegal and a hazard to health. Thus armed with the health risk information supplied to us by FDA and the knowledge that DEG was not a permissible additive, we initiated a DEG testing program.

To ensure the safety of the American consumer, ATF, in cooperation with the United States Customs Service, placed an embargo on all Austrian wines entering the United States. This embargo entailed detention and testing of Austrian wines prior to release.

Since the discovery of DEG contaminated Austrian wines, the Austrian Government has instituted a strict new wine law. According to the new wine law, Austrian vintage wines can only be exported in bottles. Only government laboratories are entitled to issue export certificates. Wines that are bottled outside of Austria cannot be guaranteed by the Austrian Government. No Austrian certificate will be issued for these wines.

During the past few months, we have been holding technical discussions with the Austrian Government regarding analytical certification of Austrian wines imported into the United States. We have recently agreed to accept the Austrian Certificate of analysis depicting DEG test results. Therefore, we have requested and Customs has agreed to lift the embargo in place at this time and replace it with the following procedures:

Release shipments of Austrian wines entering the United States accompanied by a certificate of analysis from one of the following Austrian Government laboratories indicating that the wine in question does not contain DEG:

Landwirtschaftlich-Chemische Bundesanstalt with laboratories in Vienna and Eisenstadt

Hoehere Bundeslehr - und Versuchsanstalt, Klosterneuburg

Landwirtschaftlich-Chemische Landes-Versuchs-und Untersuchungsanstalt Graz

Bundesanstalt fuer Lebensmitteluntersuchung und - forschung Wein

Bundesanstalt fuer Lebensmitteluntersuchung Linz

Bundesanstalt fuer Lebensmitteluntersuchung Graz

Bundesanstalt fuer Lebensmitteluntersuchung Innsbruck

Detain shipments of all Austrian wines entering the United States without a certificate of analysis from one of the above mentioned Austrian Government laboratories and submit, at least, one sample of each brand to ATF's National Laboratory, 1401 Research Blvd., Rockville, Maryland 20850.

Inquiries. Inquiries concerning this circular should refer to its number and should be addressed to:

Chief, Alcohol Import-Export Branch Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms ATTN: Industry Circular P.O. Box 385 Washington, DC 20226

Stephen Higgins


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