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US FDA Final Labelling Guidance for Certain Beers

On 22 December 2014, the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) issued the final version[1] of their August 2009 draft guidance for certain beers which are not made from malt barley and hops but substitutes such as sorghum, rice or wheat, that the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) states do not meet the definition of malt beverages[2] and are therefore not subject to the labelling provisions of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act.

Compliance with the US FDA labelling requirements

These non-malt beers are subjected to the US FDA labelling requirements for beverage products. These products are required to have an appropriate statement of identity, net contents in English and metric units, ingredients listed in descending order of predominance, a nutrition facts panel unless exempt, an allergens statement (if applicable) and the name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor.

An appropriate statement of identity, such as beer made from sorghum, or sorghum beer for non-malt beverage made from sorghum, is to be placed on the principal display panel, in bold type, reasonably in portion to the largest type on the principal display panel and reasonably parallel to the base on the container.

Additionally, these products are to have the government health warning statement as directed by the Alcoholic Beverage Labelling Act.

Picture: Government health warning statement
Picture: Government health warning statement

In 2009, the US FDA stated that these beverage companies had until 1 January, 2012 to revise their labels. These product labels are now expected to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

SGS is committed to keeping you informed of regulatory news and developments. Leveraging our global network of laboratories and food experts, SGS provides a comprehensive range of food safety and quality solutions including analytical testing, audits, certifications, inspections and technical support. We continually invest in our world class testing capabilities and state-of-the-art technology to help you reduce risks, and improve food safety and quality. For further information please visit our website http://www.sgs.com/en/Agriculture-Food/Food.aspx.

Email SGS Hong Kong Ltd. at mktg.hk@sgs.com for enquiries or visit http://www.sgsgroup.com.hk/.


[1] US FDA final version

[2] Tax and Trade Bureau

Content provided by SGS Hong Kong Limited
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