Distilled Spirits Council Applauds Increased Consumer Clarity and Industry Flexibility

Yesterday, the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) updated their policy regarding gluten content statements on distilled spirits, wines and malt beverages. The move aligns TTB with the recently released Food and Drug Administration (FDA) final rule permitting “gluten-free” labeling claims on distilled products made from gluten-containing grains.

After issuance of FDA’s final rule, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) worked closely with TTB urging swift incorporation of this rule into TTB’s gluten-free policy.

“We commend the bureau for their quick action in updating their ‘gluten-free’ labeling policy for distilled spirits and for appropriately and conclusively acknowledging that the distillation process removes gluten from distilled spirits products,” said Chris Swonger, DISCUS CEO and President. “This move provides additional clarity for consumers and allows for more information to assist them in making informed decisions about what products meet their dietary needs. This policy update also provides greater flexibility for industry members in labeling their products.”

In its announcement, TTB highlighted the following points:

  1. TTB is continuing to authorize the term “gluten-free” if the product would be entitled to make a “gluten-free” labeling claim under the definition in FDA regulations.
  2. In light of changes to FDA’s regulations, TTB is revising its policy to allow the term “gluten-free” for distilled spirits distilled from gluten-containing grains as long as good manufacturing practices are followed that prevent the introduction of any gluten-containing material into the final product.
  3. TTB is continuing to allow labels and advertisements for products fermented from gluten-containing grains to bear a claim that the product was processed (or treated or crafted) to remove gluten, if the claim includes an appropriate qualifying statement and necessary documentation is available to substantiate the claim.
  4. The ruling does not require any changes to approved labels. Instead, it allows greater flexibility for industry members who wish to make voluntary “gluten-free” claims on labels or in advertisements of distilled spirits distilled from gluten-containing grains, subject to the conditions of this ruling.