8 , 2004
Washington, D.C. – The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has issued a ruling to provide guidance to industry pertaining to advertising and labeling claims associated with the use of caloric and carbohydrate claims. TTB has concluded that there is a need for immediate guidance as a result of the recent trend in which industry members are seeking to use such claims in the labeling and advertising of their products.
The ruling allows for the use of truthful and specific statements about carbohydrate and calorie content while prohibiting statements that are false, misleading, or imply that consumption of low-carbohydrate alcohol beverages may play a healthy role in a weight maintenance or weight reduction plan. TTB believes that such claims are misleading in that they provide incomplete information about the health effects of alcohol consumption.
TTB regulations on the use of health-related statements in labeling and advertising provide TTB with authority to require the use of disclaimers or additional information to ensure that consumers are not misled by statements that present only a partial picture of the health effects of alcohol consumption. Unlike most low-calorie and low-carbohydrate foods, alcohol beverages are dangerous when consumed in excess. Even the moderate consumption of alcohol beverages poses health risks for some people. TTB has determined that labeling or advertising statements that imply that consumption of low-calorie or low-carbohydrate alcohol beverages is part of a healthy dietary practice are misleading unless they present all the facts in a balanced manner to the consumer.
As part of the ruling, TTB is issuing interim standards for the use of terms such as “low carbohydrate”. Prior to the setting of a final standard through the rulemaking process, the term “low carbohydrate” may be used only in the labeling and advertising of alcohol beverages that contain no more than 7 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
The ruling may be viewed in its entirety at www.ttb.gov.
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