Statement by Distilled Spirits Council President & CEO Chris Swonger Regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s Final Rule on “Gluten-Free” Labeling

“We commend FDA for this consumer-friendly ruling that will allow ‘gluten-free’ labeling claims to be included on distilled foods made from gluten-containing grains, and urge TTB to act swiftly to align policies allowing the same for distilled spirits products.

FDA’s final rule appropriately and conclusively acknowledges that ‘distillation is considered a process to remove gluten and it is unlikely that residual gluten may be present in the final distilled products’ and that ‘distilled product labeling may bear a ‘gluten-free’ claim and should be safe for people with celiac disease to consume.’

Allowing distillers to include a ‘gluten-free’ statement on products made from gluten-containing grains will provide additional clarity for consumers to make informed choices about which products meet their dietary needs.”


  • FDA’s final rule was published in the Federal Register today.
  • We urge TTB to act quickly to revise their 2014 interim policy on gluten content statements to align with FDA’s final rule and begin allowing ‘gluten-free’ statements on distilled spirits products made from gluten-containing grains.
  • The FDA final rule, which will take effect September 14, establishes compliance requirements for fermented and hydrolyzed foods, or foods that contain fermented or hydrolyzed ingredients, and that bear the “gluten-free” claim.  Distilled foods are also included in the final rule.
  • TTB has permitted the use of ‘gluten-free’ statements on labels of products made from ingredients that do not contain gluten, such as grapes or potatoes, since 2012. TTB also has allowed statements on products made from gluten-containing grains, where the product is further processed to remove some or all of the gluten, that acknowledge that the product was “[Processed or Treated or Crafted] to remove gluten.” These statements, however, required producers to provide a detailed description of the method used to remove gluten from the product and include further qualifications on their brand labels or advertisements that noted that the gluten content cannot be verified.
  • DISCUS issued a comment in support of the FDA rule in 2016.