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  • Scott Adams

    New TTB Rule Means All Distilled Spirits Can Be Labeled "Gluten-Free"

    Scott Adams
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      New TTB rule permits gluten-free labeling on distilled spirits made from gluten-containing grains.

    Whisky Collection. Image: CC BY-ND 2.0--Danny Nicholson
    Caption: Whisky Collection. Image: CC BY-ND 2.0--Danny Nicholson

    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."

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    To match the new policy, the TTB has rewritten the rules for gluten content statements on labels and in advertisements for distilled spirits, wine and malt beverages regulated under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act.

    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

    Edited by Scott Adams


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  • About Me

    Scott Adams was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. In 1995 he launched the site that later became Celiac.com to help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives.  He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of the (formerly paper) newsletter Journal of Gluten Sensitivity. In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. Celiac.com does not sell any products, and is 100% advertiser supported.

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