QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS REGARDING
Bonded Winery Permittees, Brewers, Distilled Spirits
Plant Proprietors, Importers and Others Concerned:
Purpose: The purpose of this circular is to advise
industry members of the Bureau's positions on a number
of interpretative questions raised in connection with
the new ingredient labeling regulations. Following the
publication of T.D. ATF-66 (45 FR 40538, June 13, 1980),
many questions have been raised concerning application
of these regulations to specific types of ingredient
labeling and common factual situations.
Instead of answering each inquiry separately, the
Bureau believes that the best course of action is to
collectively group the inquiries and state the Bureau's
position on each issue. In addition, Bureau personnel
submitted possible questions which might arise at a
The Bureau further believes that this circular will
provide a source of interpretative guidelines for
industry to follow and should reduce the number of
inquiries on the same or similar issues.
Policy questions and answers read as follows:
If an additive (flavor) contains synthetic
topnotes (less than .1 percent) will it be
labeled as "natural" or "natural and arti-
With synthetic topnotes, a flavor, will be
labeled by the term "natural and artifi-
When wine is added to distilled spirits,
at or less than 2 1/2 percent by volume as
a flavoring or coloring additive, must it
be labeled by its individual ingredients?
No. If the function of the wine is to
flavor or color it will be labeled as such.
Question 3 When wine is added in an amount up to 15
percent in flavored brandies will it
qualify as a flavoring and may it be
labeled as such?
No. Quantities exceeding 2 1/2 percent
must be disclosed by their individual
When wine is used in a liqueur or
specialty, will it be labeled as "wine" or
by its individual ingredients?
The use of the term "wine" is unacceptable
as an ingredient. The wine must be broken
down and disclosed by its ingredients,
unless it is 2 1/2 percent or less as
described in Answer 2.
Can sugar refer to all sweeteners or must
the type or form of sugar be listed
(dextrose, levulose, or fructose)?
For the purpose of ingredient labeling,
the general term "sugar" may apply to the
When must sugar appear as an ingredient in
If the amount of sugar added for the pur-
pose of adjusting for natural deficiencies
does not exceed the amount normally found
in that essential component, it need not
be listed. However, when sugar is added
to adjust for natural deficiencies in a
wine, it must be the same form of sugar
that is found naturally in the grape, or
sugar must be listed.
How will essential components of neutral
citrus residue brandy (NCRB) be listed?
The essential components of NCBR would
fall within the definition of a derivative
of the basic agricultural product.
Therefore, they may be disclosed by their
How will enzymes be labeled?
If the enzyme is formed during the malting
process it need not be listed. However,
if the enzyme is added by the manufacturer
it will be required to be disclosed on the
label as an additive, and further, must be
identified by its common and usual name.
Question 9 On products not requiring a mandatory
statement of composition, but one appears
by choice of the proprietor, can he also
use the optional ingredient statement?
Where the proprietor places a statement of
composition on a product not required by
regulations to bear such a statement, a
full list of ingredients must appear on
the container, since such a statement of
composition purports to be an ingredient
list. In this case, the proprietor is not
permitted to use the optional ingredient
statement. However, on products requiring
a mandatory coloring statement, the pro-
prietor may use the optional ingredient
statement and the coloring statement need
not appear in direct conjunction.
When an additive is used whose primary
function is to flavor, but also imparts
color to the finished product, will the
additive be labeled as a flavor, color, or
It will be the responsibility of the pro-
prietor to determine the intended function
of the additive. If the additive has a
two-fold function, that is, to flavor and
to color, it will be disclosed accordingly.
If "natural flavors" and "natural and
artificial flavors" are added to a given
product, must they be identified
No. On products containing an all natural
flavor, the label will read "natural
flavor." When flavors are both "natural" and "natural and artificial", the label
may read "natural and artificial flavors."
Is the ingredient list required to appear
on advertising gift cartons?
The ingredient information (list or
optional ingredient statement) is not
required to appear on gift cartons unless
such cartons cannot easily be opened or
are sealed with an opaque covering.
What determines whether an ingredient must
be disclosed or would be considered
incidental, and, therefore, not disclosed?
All ingredients (essential components and
additives) will be disclosed unless a pro-
prietor determines that an additive meets
one of the criteria under the definition
If an intermediate product contains sulfur
dioxide, must the sulfur dioxide appear in
Yes. Although the amount of sulfur
dioxide in the alcoholic or nonalcoholic
intermediate product may not be in suffi-
cient quantity to preserve the finished
product, all additives whose function is
to preserve, color, or flavor must appear
in the ingredient list. If more sulfur
dioxide is added to the finished product
it need not be listed a second time, how-
ever, if another preservative other than
sulfur dioxide is added it must appear in
the ingredient list.
Many beer labels state "brewed from the
finest cereal grains, choicest hops, yeast
and water." Can this continue?
Yes. But, since this purports to be an
ingredient list, the actual ingredient list must also appear on the container,
and the optional ingredient statement is
not acceptable as an alternative to
labeling the ingredients in this case.
Furthermore, the ingredient list may not
contain adjectives such as "finest" or
"choicest" to describe the ingredients.
If one elects for the optional ingredient
statement and the full mailing address
(including zip code) is listed in the
bottler/importer block, must it be repeated
again immediately following the optional
No. The full mailing address (including
zip code) where the ingredient information
is available need appear only once on the
Question 17 Do all shipments of imported alcoholic
beverages bottled on or before December 31,
1982, require the certified list of ingre-
dients if released on or after January 1,
No. Shipments bottled before the
mandatory compliance date and released
from Customs custody after such date can
be released without the certified list of
- the shipment is accompanied by a
certificate of bottling date, certifying
that the product was bottled before
January 1, 1983; or,
- the shipment was entered into Customs
Bonded Warehouse or foreign trade zone on
or before December 31, 1982.
Must a certified copy of the ingredient
list accompany each import?
No. Only one copy of the certified list
of ingredients need be furnished at the
time of filing the Form 1649 or Supple-
mental. To effectuate the release from
Customs an importer need only have an
approved Form 1649 and Form 1649 Supple-
mental for the product. For imported
beverages in bulk, the certified list of
ingredients is not necessary for release
from Customs, but must accompany the
application for label approval submitted
by the American bottler.
What foreign official would be considered
as authorized to certify the ingredient
A government employee who is officially
authorized to perform that function.
Can the consumer letter contain
Yes, as long as the ingredient list is
included and any advertising matter shown
must be separate and apart.
Does the use of water corrective additives
in water treatments that precede the
brewing process need to be listed as an
No. Normally the use of water corrective
additives, such as Burton salts, would be
Can the phrase "100% grape juice" be
stated in lieu of the ingredient list?
No. Since the phrase "100% grape juice"
would be considered puffery, it may not
appear in, or in lieu of the ingredient
Will conforming changes to regulations in
Parts 19, 231, 240, 245, 250, and 251 be
Since the labeling sections found in these
parts merely require conformity with Parts
4, 5, and 7, conforming changes will not
How will ATF regulate bulk transfers of
alcoholic beverages since the ingredient
labeling regulations involve consumer
packages entered into interstate commerce?
ATF would hold that it is the
responsibility of the industry member to
have and/or obtain sufficient information
so as to be able to label the products in
conformity with Parts 4, 5, or 7. The use
of ATF forms, such as Forms 5110.27, 703,
5110.45, and 2035 could accomplish this
end by including a list of ingredients.
Can the ingredient list or the optional
ingredient statement be overprinted on a
strip stamp or alternative device?
The optional ingredient statement may
appear on an alternative device provided
it appears on the front of the bottle, in
line with the brand label. It may not be
overprinted on a strip stamp. The ingre-
dient list may not be overprinted on a
strip stamp, but may appear on an alter-
native device if the mandatory information
is not obscured.
If imported alcoholic beverages in bulk,
or in approved containers, are processed
in more than one foreign country, which
country will issue the certificate?
For bottled goods, the country in which
the alcoholic beverage was bottled or
packed will certify as to the accuracy of
the ingredient list. For bulk goods, the
country in which processing last occurred
prior to entry into U.S. Customs custody
will issue the certificate. The term
"processing" includes, but is not limited
to; the addition of water, filtering and
other manufacturing steps.
How soon must a producer, bottler or
importer respond to a consumer request for
While the regulations do not impose a
specific time period, the Bureau would
consider a response within 30 days to be
In the production of wine, if a sodium ion
exchange treatment is used to remove potas-
sium, must the sodium that is exchanged be
disclosed for ingredient labeling purposes?
Yes. The sodium that is added to the wine
would be considered as an additive since
it preserves and would have an effect on
the finished wine.
How will yeast be labeled?
As with enzymes, if the yeast for the
fermentation is the yeast found naturally
on an essential component, such as grapes,
and no other yeast is added, then yeast
need not appear in the ingredient list.
If any yeast is added, then it must appear
in the ingredient list.
If corn syrup is used in the production of
alcoholic beverages, how may it be labeled?
Corn syrup may be labeled by its common
and usual name, or it may be labeled by
its individual ingredients, such as corn,
papain, and sulfur dioxide.
Inquiries. Inquiries concerning this circular
should refer to its number and be addressed to the
Assistant Director (Regulatory Enforcement), Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW, Washington, DC 20226.