On October 25, 1999 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend regulations governing health claims in alcohol advertising and on product labels. The notice opens a 120-day comment period that will allow consumer input on issues concerning substantive and "directional" health-related statements.

In keeping with a 1993 "Industry Circular," ATF’s notice suggests that the agency seeks to adopt a rule requiring all substantive health claims to be detailed and precise and balanced by information about the negative effects of drinking, including specific mention of population segments for whom the negatives would outweigh any potential health benefit.

Additionally, the BATF notice seeks comment on whether health claims should be prohibited entirely, based on their likelihood to mislead or deceive consumers, and/or whether the currently approved "directional" labels that refer consumers to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines or their physician should be rescinded.  Comments must be received on or by February 22, 2000 at:

ATTN: Notice No. 884
Chief, Regulations Division
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
P.O. Box 50221
Washington, D.C. 20091-0221

The Alcohol Policies Project will develop comments and provide suggestions (hopefully by January 15) on how to respond to the BATF notice and will post those comments to this site. Keep checking. For background information, please view our October 28, 1998, Action Alert on the Wine Institute's proposal to use new labels and our response to the BATF's proposal on February 5, 1999.  Also view the BoozeNews Archives for further information on the project's past efforts.

For more information contact:

George Hacker   at 202-332-9110 (ext. 343).

November 4, 1999