TTB has been working on a new COLA form, with new and more flexible rules about what may change without seeking a new label approval. TTB announced this in the January 13, 2012 Newsletter and the Federal Register two weeks prior.
The new rules, if/when implemented, could allow a huge variety of big and small changes — without the need to submit, wait, haggle.
Here is the draft form. For example, the new rules (at page 3) would allow you to:
- Move mandatory around. This is at category 2. This would allow you to move VODKA from the bottom of the front label to the top of the front label, for example. It would not allow you to move VODKA from the front to the back. (The draft form does not seem to make it clear, about whether it’s also okay to reposition non-mandatory. It would be very strange if okay to move the important stuff but not the less important stuff.)
- Change colors. This is at category 3.
- Add/delete/change a QR code. This is at category 22.
- Add/delete/change social media icons. This is at category 25.
- Add/delete/change information about awards. This is at category 26. It remains a bad idea to announce “Award for most antioxidants in a Cabernet.”
- Add/delete/change holiday/seasonal graphics/salutations. This is at category 27.
- Cover all sizes with one approval. This is at category 9. This could avoid the need for three separate COLAs — above 3 liters, below 237 ml., and in the middle (as on the current form at category 4).
All of this is in addition to the many other changes that have been allowed for years. For the sake of comparison, the 2011 form is here. Some of these are big changes and should help a lot. TTB’s comment period ended on February 27, 2012, but if you missed the boat or have an opinion, please set it forth below.
All of these changes are great. The antiquated restrictions are unnecessarily tight. The TTB should stick to “false” claims, health statements etc. Not moving words and color changes. Leave the marketing design to the product sellers.
That said, I think the TTB has done a pretty good job for our products. Try as I might, they do catch some things that need correction. I only have one pair of eyes. The biggest hurdle is the review time.
On another note, multiple importers in many cases means multiple label files. The TTB like any group with multiple reviewers, catches different requirements at different times. This results in multiple labels for the same product.