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June 7, 2013

Greetings!  We hope you are having a sunny and blithesome week!  This week's edition includes information about FDA's final rule on prior notification of imported food, and about when you may make changes to alcohol beverage labels without TTB approval.

In the TTB Newsletter, we compile the top TTB news of the week and other helpful information about the Bureau and the Federal alcohol and tobacco laws and regulations we enforce.

Please send any questions or comments to the Executive Liaison for Industry Matters at

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TTB is passing this information along as a courtesy to alcohol beverage importers regarding an FDA final rule about FDA’s requirements for prior notification of imported food. Please consult the FDA for the specifics of prior notification. 

Federal law requires that all importers provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with prior notification of all food imported into the United States, including imports of alcohol beverage products.  This prior notification may be made through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection "Automated Broker Interface of the Automated Commercial System" or through the FDA’s "Prior Notice System Interface."

Effective May 30, 2013, the FDA finalized its 2011 interim rule requiring that this prior notification include the name of any country to which the food was refused entry. Please visit Importing Food Products into the United States at FDA’s website for more information on food imports and the prior notification requirements.


If you are an alcohol beverage industry member (such as an importer or bottler) and are considering making changes to your previously approved alcohol beverage label, please review our complete list of allowable revisions before you submit your certificate of label approval (COLA) application - you may not need to send us the revised label at all!

When we updated our COLA application, TTB Form 5100.31, Application for and Certification/Exemption of Label/Bottle Approvalin July 2012, we expanded the list of items an alcohol beverage industry member can change on a previously approved label without TTB approval.

The idea behind the change is this: With a longer list of allowable revisions, we expect a decrease in the number of submitted label applications. With a decrease in the number of submitted label applications, we anticipate a faster review time for labels for new products and products with major changes.

A key component to the success of these changes is for industry members (or even consultants and attorneys practicing in the field) to know and understand the specific types of changes allowed for previously approved labels, and to exercise their freedom to make minor allowable changes to their labels without sending unnecessary requests for additional COLA approvals. With these changes, we anticipate industry may see a faster and easier application process in the future!
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  • If you have any questions about what is mandatory information and what is non-mandatory information, please consult the applicable regulations in 27 CFR parts 4, 5, 7 and 16 or contact our Advertising, Labeling and Formulation Division:

  • By phone at 202-453-2250 or toll free at 866-927-2533:

    • Option 4: Distilled Spirits and Malt Beverage Labeling
    • Option 6: Wine Labeling

  • Submit an Online Inquiry