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August 22, 2014


Greetings! We hope you had an enterprising and lucid week! This week's top stories include an announcement about a meeting between TTB and the government of Vietnam, information about the latest improvements to COLAs Online, an AMS notice about establishing a standard of identity for honey, plus a list of the past week's top Regulations and Guidance pages at TTB.gov/.


Recently TTB met with an excise tax delegation from Vietnam. Nine representatives from the Vietnam National Assembly, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, and Office of the Prime Minister met with officials from TTB's Headquarters Operations and the Office of Chief Counsel to learn more about how we administer U.S. tobacco excise tax laws and regulations.

TTB officials shared information about our approach to tobacco excise tax administration, and shared experiences in enhancing excise tax administration efficacy and means to minimize illicit trade. The delegation discussed current efforts to reform their tobacco excise tax system, along with experiences in addressing illicit trade. At the close of the meeting, representatives discussed various ways to extend collaboration and maintain an open dialogue.

This type of information sharing between the United States and our foreign counterpart tax administrators allows us to leverage our expertise and resources to further the our mission to promote the collection of excise tax lawfully due and prevent illicit trade. It also supports Treasury's goal to promote international financial stability and balanced global growth.

To learn more about our tobacco program and excise tax laws and regulations see our Tobacco Web page.


The following enhancements in functionality and interface were included in Version 3.11 of the COLAs Online system, which was released July 10, 2014. Some of these changes were made in response to requests from COLAs Online users and others are designed to reduce the chances of applications being sent back for correction. TTB remains committed to streamlining the label approval process and making continuous improvements to our efiling systems.

  • Allowable Label Revisions List Review Acknowledgement – You must now review and acknowledge the list of allowable label revisions before creating an eApplication in COLAs Online.
  • Verify Uploaded Images Requirement – You must now verify images uploaded with your eApplication in COLAs Online before submitting the eApplication.
  • Label Processing Times – You may now view the current COLA processing times by selecting the label applications link available on the Home: My eApplications page.
  • Brand (front) Label Image Listed First – The Brand (front) label image will be listed first, regardless of the order it was uploaded.
  • Home: My eApplications Page Lists Most Recent 300 eApplications – You now see your most recent 300 eApplications (submitted or saved but not submitted) on the Home: My eApplications page.
  • Public COLA Registry Search Date Range Enhancement – You may now perform a Public COLA Registry basic or advanced search with a maximum 15 year date range.

Read the Release Notice for more details on these COLAs Online updates.


The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting comments on how a Federal standard of identity for honey would be in the interest of consumers, the honey industry, and U.S. agriculture.  This solicitation may be of interest to TTB-regulated producers of honey wine, mead, and other honey-containing alcohol beverage products.

AMS is soliciting these comments in response to a recent Food and Drug Administration decision not to issue a Federal standard of identity for honey and in response to several States adopting their own standards of identity for honey, which could lead to an assortment of varying State standards that could impede interstate commerce. 

Copies of the current voluntary U.S. grade standards for extracted honey and comb honey are on the USDA Web site at https://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/scihome.

Comments on this issue are due to AMS by September 19, 2014.  See the AMS notice for details on how and where to comment.

See also FDA's Draft Guidance for Industry: Proper Labeling of Honey and Honey Products

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Please visit the homepage of TTB.gov/ for the most recent news, or visit the Contact Us page if you have any questions.