Beverage Alcohol Product Safety

Harmful Ingredients, Adulterants, and Unauthorized Additives

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for determining which ingredients are prohibited from use in food and/or beverage products. Under a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the FDA, the TTB Beverage Alcohol Laboratory (BAL) analyzes alcohol beverage products for limited and prohibited compounds. The laboratory enforces these restrictions for alcohol beverages as per FDA guidance. For more information, please see the regulations at 21 CFR part 189, Substances Prohibited from Use in Human Food.

For a list of methods currently used by the BAL, please see our Methods and Procedures.

Allergens and Gluten

More information on food allergens may be found on the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition website.  Information on gluten-free labeling may be found on FDA’s Food Labeling and Nutrition website as well as in TTB’s Ruling 2020-2 on gluten content statements.

Consumer Complaints

One of TTB’s responsibilities is to address and investigate complaints made by consumers regarding alcohol beverage products.  These complaints are typically related to the quality of products, such as low alcohol, unusual taste, possible spoilage or contamination, and the presence of foreign objects.  The Consumer Complaint Program is managed by the Market Compliance Office (MCO) of the Trade Investigations Division (TID).  MCO responds to complaints, and assists the consumer in reaching an agreeable resolution.  MCO will sometimes work in conjunction with TID investigators and/or the Scientific Services Division (SSD) when handling a complaint.  

Individuals who wish to submit a complaint, may directly contact MCO or a local TTB TID office. Additional information about filing a complaint can be found here.

Once a complaint is received, MCO will contact the complainant for additional information. It is important for the consumer to retain any opened and unopened product related to the complaint in case testing is needed.  If required, an investigator from the local TID office will collect the product in question and submit them to SSD.

Upon receipt of the samples, the laboratory will conduct the necessary analyses and issue a report to MCO.  No report is issued to the complainant.  MCO will notify the complainant of the findings.  


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Questions? If you have questions regarding TTB's Beverage Alcohol Laboratory, contact the Scientific Services Division online or at 202-508-0421.  If you're having technical issues with our online applications contact the TTB Help Desk or see the TTB Online Help Center.


Page last reviewed: November 2, 2021
Page last updated: May 22, 2023
Maintained by: Scientific Services Division