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Consumer/Health Groups Call for Meaningful Change in How Treasury Department Regulates Alcohol Labeling
Date:12/12/2008

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Even as the Obama Administration sets its sights on stabilizing and strengthening the U.S. economy, a coalition of public interest groups today called on the transition team and incoming Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to move quickly on another matter where action by the Treasury Department is needed and long overdue: requiring mandatory, basic serving facts disclosing alcohol content per serving and the definition of moderate, or low-risk alcohol consumption on all alcoholic beverage labels.

In a letter to Secretary-Designate Geithner, four leading public interest groups -- Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Federation of America, National Consumers League and Shape Up America! -- used the fifth anniversary of an unanswered petition originally sent to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) on December 16, 2003 to press for "meaningful change" in how the Treasury Department regulates alcohol labeling. Summarizing a record of more than 30 years of inaction by TTB and its predecessor agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), the organizations reported overwhelming public support for a standardized "Alcohol Facts" panel on all beer, wine and distilled spirits products listing such basic information as the serving size, calories per serving, alcohol content per serving, and the definition of a "standard drink." Additionally, the petition sought the inclusion of the Dietary Guidelines' definition of moderate, or low-risk, alcohol consumption on product labels. Today, alcoholic beverages are the only major category of consumable products not required to carry label information summarizing these basic characteristics of the product.

"Right now, consumers really have no way of knowing the most basic information about alcoholic beverages," said Chris Waldrop, Director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation
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SOURCE Shape Up America!
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