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Government allows nutrient labels on alcohol drinks

  • Pages from a ruling by the Department of the Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau showing voluntary recommendations for labeling of wines, distilled spirits and malt liquor that were released on May 28, 2013.  New labels on alcohol could help drinkers know what they are consuming _ but only if the alcohol companies want them to. The Treasury Department, which regulates alcohol, is moving to allow companies to place labels on packages that include serving size, servings per container, calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat per serving. The labels would be voluntary. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

    Pages from a ruling by the Department of the Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau showing voluntary recommendations for labeling of wines, distilled spirits and malt liquor that were released on May 28, 2013. New labels on alcohol could help drinkers know what they are consuming _ but only if the alcohol companies want them to. The Treasury Department, which regulates alcohol, is moving to allow companies to place labels on packages that include serving size, servings per container, calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat per serving. The labels would be voluntary. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

  • Pages from a ruling by the Department of the Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau showing voluntary recommendations for labeling of wines, distilled spirits and malt liquor that were released on May 28, 2013.  New labels on alcohol could help drinkers know what they are consuming _ but only if the alcohol companies want them to. The Treasury Department, which regulates alcohol, is moving to allow companies to place labels on packages that include serving size, servings per container, calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat per serving. The labels would be voluntary. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

    Pages from a ruling by the Department of the Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau showing voluntary recommendations for labeling of wines, distilled spirits and malt liquor that were released on May 28, 2013. New labels on alcohol could help drinkers know what they are consuming _ but only if the alcohol companies want them to. The Treasury Department, which regulates alcohol, is moving to allow companies to place labels on packages that include serving size, servings per container, calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat per serving. The labels would be voluntary. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

  • Pages from a ruling by the Department of the Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau showing voluntary recommendations for labeling of wines, distilled spirits and malt liquor that were released on May 28, 2013.  New labels on alcohol could help drinkers know what they are consuming _ but only if the alcohol companies want them to. The Treasury Department, which regulates alcohol, is moving to allow companies to place labels on packages that include serving size, servings per container, calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat per serving. The labels would be voluntary. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)
  • Pages from a ruling by the Department of the Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau showing voluntary recommendations for labeling of wines, distilled spirits and malt liquor that were released on May 28, 2013.  New labels on alcohol could help drinkers know what they are consuming _ but only if the alcohol companies want them to. The Treasury Department, which regulates alcohol, is moving to allow companies to place labels on packages that include serving size, servings per container, calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat per serving. The labels would be voluntary. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

Alcohol beverages could soon carry nutritional labels like those on food – but only if the producers want to put them there.

The Treasury Department, which regulates alcohol, said this week that beer, wine and spirits companies can place labels on packages that include serving size, servings per container, calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat per serving. Such labels have never before been approved.

Alcohol companies won’t be required to use the labels because they are voluntary. The decision is a temporary, first step while the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau continues to consider final rules on alcohol labels. Rules proposed in 2007 would have made labels mandatory but the agency never made the rules final.

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