CERTIFICATES OF ANALYSIS
REQUIREMENTS FOR IMPORTED ITALIAN WINES
Importers of Wine and Other Concerned Parties:
Purpose. The Bureau is issuing this circular to advise
industry members that existing requirements for the
certification of DEG and methanol content in imported Italian
wines are rescinded.
Background. In response to a potential health problem
which was posed by the addition of methanol and diethylene
glycol (DEG) in Italian wines, the Italian Government in 1986,
instituted a mandatory testing program for its wines. In order
to provide documentary evidence that wines exported to the
United States contained safe levels of these contaminants,
the Italian Government instructed all exporters to provide, as
part of their export papers, certificates of analysis for
methanol and DEG content. These certificates, issued by
Italian Government approved testing facilities, currently
accompany all shipments of Italian wines exported to the United
EXISTING REQUIREMENTS. Under existing U.S. Customs
procedures, no Italian wines may be withdrawn from Customs
custody until such time as the importer and/or broker has
provided U.S. Customs with a valid copy of an Italian
laboratory certificate of analysis. This certificate must
attest to an acceptable level of methanol content in each brand
and type of Italian wine in the particular shipment.
In the case of DEG content, release from Customs Custody was
not predicated on the importer providing a certificate of
analysis attesting to the absence of DEG. However, importers
were instructed by Regional ATF Offices to have available such
certificates of analysis at their business premises for
possible inspection by ATF field personnel.
DISCUSSION. In the aftermath of the contaminated wine
scandal in Italy, the Italian authorities implemented a wide
range of regulations and control measures designed to guard
against future instances of contamination in Italian wines.
These control measures, the first of which was implemented in
June, 1986, provided the United States Government with
assurances that every possible precaution was being taken to
maintain the integrity and quality of Italian wines and control
over their production.
On July 23, 1987, ATF was officially notified by the Italian
Government of its decision to revoke regulations which required
the certification of DEG and methanol levels in wines destined
for export. The effective date of this action is July 30,
1987. Though such certificates will no longer be issued, the
Italian authorities have assured us that they will continue to
test for DEG and methanol in wines exported to the United
Action. In light of the Italian Government's decision to
revoke its certification procedures, ATF notified the U.S.
Customs Service that effective July 30, 1987, all instructions
and directives concerning certificates of analysis for Italian
wine importations are rescinded. As a result, Customs has been
advised that wine shipments arriving in the U.S. on or after
July 30, 1987 need not be accompanied by certificates of
analysis for DEG and methanol content levels.
This industry circular supersedes the instructions contained in
circulars: #86-9 and 86-10.
Inquiries. Inquiries concerning this circular should
refer to its number and be addressed to the Associate Director
(Compliance Operations), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20226.