Celiac.com 10/26/2020 - The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has announced a new policy that permits any distilled spirits made from gluten-containing grains to be labeled as "gluten-free." The move follows a ruling by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July that permits any distilled foods made from gluten-containing grains to be labelled "gluten-free." Previously, both rules permitted gluten-free labeling only on distilled spirits made from non-gluten ingredients, such as grapes, corn or potatoes.
Following the FDA rule change, the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus), an alcohol industry trade group, urged the TTB to update its policy to match FDA rules. In response, the TTB updated its rule on 13 October. Discus CEO and president, Chris Swonger, welcomed the move, saying that the new rule "...provides additional clarity for consumers and allows for more information to assist them in making informed decisions about what products meet their dietary needs. This policy update also provides greater flexibility for industry members in labeling their products."
Under the revised ruling, TTB permits the use of the term "gluten-free" for labeling if the product meets FDA regulations for gluten-free labeling. However, companies are required to follow manufacturing practices that prevent any gluten-containing material from entering the final product.
Additionally, TTB will continue to allow labels and advertisements for products fermented from gluten-containing grains to declare that the product has been processed to remove gluten. The TTB will require documentation to support the claim.
It has long been known, and scientifically proven, that distillation removes removes gluten from the final product, and that all distilled spirits are gluten-free. Numerous health professionals and celiac support groups, such as Celiac.com and Coeliac UK, permit the consumption of spirits as part of a gluten-free diet.
Read more on the TTB ruling on gluten-free labeling for distilled spirits at thespiritbusiness.com