ATF - The Alcohol and Tobacco Newsletter: Office of Alcohol and Tobacco
March 2001
Office of Alcohol and Tobacco
Page 2

(Continuation from page 1)

221 Main Street, 11th Floor, San Francisco CA 94105-1922, via phone: 415-744-9422, via fax: 415-744-9405, via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Organic Labeling
By Susan Stewart (202) 927-8140

The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 authorized the creation of the National Organic Program (NOP) under the direction of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA published a final rule (with request for comments) on Thursday December 21, 2000, codifying the NOP in 7 CFR Part 205. The NOP facilitates domestic and international marketing of fresh and processed food (including beverage alcohol) that is organically produced and assures consumers that such products meet consistent, uniform standards. The NOP establishes national standards for the production and handling of organically produced products and also includes requirements for labeling products as organic and containing organic ingredients. The NOP covers both domestic and imported products offered for sale in the U.S.

Although this rule became effective on February 20, 2001, the production, handling and labeling requirements of the NOP will not be implemented until August 20, 2002. This will allow time for USDA to give accreditation to certifying agents.

The Alcohol Labeling & Formulation Division (ALFD) is currently working with USDA to determine how to process label applications that contain organic claims. ATF will NOT be involved in enforcing the production and handling aspects of the NOP, but it remains to be determined what our level of involvement will be in enforcing the labeling requirements of the NOP. Beginning March 5, 2001, ALFD specialists will qualify all approved certificates of label approval/exemption from label approval/distinctive liquor bottle approval (certificates) that make organic references with the following statement:

"This label is subject to the United States Department of Agriculture regulations relating to the National Organic Program at 7 CFR Part 205. The labeling requirements of Part 205 will be implemented on August 20, 2002. The approval of this certificate is not an indication that this label conforms with these regulations."

In addition, starting March 5, 2001, all approved certificates that contain organic references will be given an expiration or termination date of August 20, 2002. In the interim, we will continue to follow our current policy on the use of organic claims through that date. Our

current policy states that you may only make references to organic ingredients, e.g., "organic hops" or "made with organically grown grapes" and may not refer to a finished product as organic, e.g., "organic wine." In addition, we require that you submit with each application that includes an organic reference, proof of certification by an organic certifying agency.

You may find more information about the NOP at the USDA web site: www.ams.usda.gov/nop/.

We will continue to provide you with updates as our discussions with USDA progress and as the implementation date approaches. If you have any questions, you may contact USDA at 202-205-7806 or the ALFD Customer Service Team at 1-866-927-ALFD, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Treasury Decisions
By Lisa Gesser (202) 453-2265

On March 6, 2001, a Treasury Decision establishing the West Elks viticultural area was published in the Federal Register. This final rule will become effective on May 7, 2001. This action is a result of a petition filed on behalf of several grape growers and winery owners in the area. West Elks is located in Delta County, Colorado.

On February 26, 2001, a Treasury Decision establishing the Fair Play viticultural area was published in the Federal Register. This final rule is the result of a petition filed by Brian Fitzpatrick, President of Fair Play Winery Association. Fair Play is located in southern El Dorado County, California, entirely within the existing "El Dorado" and "Sierra Foothills" viticultural areas. This final rule will become effective on April 27, 2001.

On March 2, 2001, TD-443 was published in the Federal Register. This final rule eliminates the requirement for users of tax-free alcohol to file a bond. This rule will become effective on May 1, 2001.

On March 1, 2001, a Treasury Decision updating the regulations in 27 CFR parts 19 and 21 was published in the Federal Register. Specifically, the updates include removing the proprietary brand name "BITREX" listed with the denaturant denatonium benzoate, incorporating an ATF ruling that approves the use of two substitute denaturants, and making other amendments to provide clarity.


Questions or suggestions relating to the Alcohol & Tobacco Newsletter should be directed to the Editor by fax at (202) 927-5611 or by mail at the following address: Bureau of ATF, 650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Room 8110, Attention: Donna Smith, Editor, Alcohol & Tobacco Newsletter, Washington, DC 20226.