Gov’t Mulls Nutrition Labels for Wine, Alcohol

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) – When you’re sitting at a bar or relaxing over a meal with friends, no one can seem to resist the temptation of reading the label on whatever bottle of wine or beer on the table in front of them. But have you ever wondered why alcoholic beverages are the only ones not to include a calorie count and nutrition info on the label? That’s because it’s not regulated yet.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and a coalition of consumer advocates have asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to pass a stalled proposal to include informational labels on all alcoholic beverages. However, the consumer advocates also want some additional information added to the packaging.

As it stands, the current proposal “would require a ‘serving facts’ panel that would include largely irrelevant nutrition information such as protein and fat, but incredibly, not require disclosure of alcohol content,” according to a press release from the Consumer Federation of America – a conglomeration of more than 300 nonprofit consumer organizations.

The organizations are calling for more disclosure, hoping that the standardized label will also include the serving size, number of servings per container, percentage alcohol by volume and the amount of alcohol in fluid ounce per serving. They are also lobbying the government to add a statement on the label that defines moderate or low-risk drinking.

Initiated in 2007, the proposal was open to public comment through February 2008, but has since been in regulatory limbo. Alcoholic beverages are the only major consumable product not required to have an information label, according to the CFA.

“Adequate labeling information can serve as a tool to help reduce alcohol abuse, drunk driving, obesity and many diseases attributable to excessive alcohol intake,” the group says.

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