In a massive and coordinated action yesterday, the Federal Government moved to favor Red Bull and pummel other drinks with caffeine. FDA handed a giant gift to Red Bull here. The FTC handed a humongous present to Red Bull here. Other actions are expected imminently, as legions of other regulators rush in to exaggerate the dangers (it looks like soda, it’s “loaded with caffeine,” it’s like a “plague” and “toxic”) and ignore evidence to the contrary. This follows many state actions in recent weeks. Presto, problem solved! We eagerly await the evidence that young people cut back on alcohol, or cut back on co-consumption of alcohol with caffeine. We hope it’s better than the current leading study; it purports to highlight the dangers of the pre-mixed products such as Four Loko, Liquid Charge, Joose and scores of others — without ever having examined any such products. Instead, the O’Brien study reviewed products so different they are not even within the scope of yesterday’s governmental actions (none of which, after some dexterous sleight of hand and misdirection, stopped it from instigating the above actions). We believe caffeine and alcohol raise plenty of important public policy issues, whether they are combined or not, and they warrant serious deliberation. But many of the deliberations so far reflect...Continue Reading Leave a Comment
TTB had a fascinating tidbit in the September 3, 2010 TTB Newsletter. It tends to say that nutrition information will be attaching to beer, wine and spirits a lot sooner than most people expected. Not so much on labels (yet), but on menus, wine lists and similar postings at on-premise retailers. This seems like a huge and important development, courtesy of President Obama, Congress and FDA (rather than TTB). It therefore seems odd that there is not much outcry; the submitted comments do not show much awareness from the alcohol beverage industry. The Washington Post suggests that the connection among the health care legislation, menu labeling and alcohol beverages caught most people by surprise. TTB summarized the initiative succinctly:
On March 23, 2010, the President signed the health care reform legislation into law. Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations to list calorie content information for standard menu items on restaurant menus and menu boards, including drive-through menu boards. Other nutrient information – total calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, sugars, fiber and total protein – would have to be made available in writing upon request.
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The FDA Questions and Answers in B, Covered Food, Question 2,...
This label was pretty good until about a year ago. Then TTB decided it’s not really a “malt beverage.” TTB decided this because Bard’s Tale Beer is made without malted barley. TTB Ruling 2008-3 explains that a brewery product can not be a “malt beverage,” subject to TTB label rules, unless it contains hops and malted barley. Bard’s Tale is made with sorghum instead of malted barley because those with Celiac Disease can not tolerate the gluten common to barley. In July of 2008 TTB handed the issue to FDA by publishing the Ruling. About one year later, in August of 2009, FDA accepted the issue by publishing a Draft Guidance on “Labeling of Certain Beers.” In this document, FDA explains that certain beers are subject to FDA’s labeling rules and are not subject to the FAA Act rules enforced by TTB. As a result, such beers don’t need TTB label approval but they do need a statement of ingredients, allergen labeling, nutrition facts, and a Government Warning. It gets confusing. Some beers are TTB and some are primarily FDA. Some wines are TTB and some are primarily FDA. At least we can take comfort in the fact that all spirits are TTB. Unless they are non-potable (as in cooking spirits or flavors) — in...Continue Reading Leave a Comment