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Wednesday, February 12, 2014
CSA Responds to Revised TTB Gluten-Free Alcohol Labeling Policy
Yesterday when the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) released its "Revised Interim Policy on Gluten Content Statements in the Labeling and Advertising of Wine, Distilled Spirits, and Malt Beverages", I immediately reached out the Celiac Sprue Association.

As you may remember, I had some very interesting emails with the CSA staff back in November when they decided to endorse Omission Beer with the CSA Recongition Seal. Omission Beer is a barley-based beer and cannot legally be labeled "gluten-free" as per the TTB policy. I was curious to see if the CSA would stand by their endorsement now that the labeling policy had been revised.

Here is what the Celiac Sprue Association had to say:

Mary is out of the state this week at a conference, and she has asked me to respond to your inquiry.  The February 11, 2014 updated TTB policy on gluten-free labeling, based upon the TTB’s review of the FDA final rule, is basically a restatement of the TTB’s interim policy.  CSA’s certification of Omission beer was based upon the product meeting all of CSA’s Recognition Seal certification requirements, and obviously, the TTB policy has no bearing on the CSA certification process.  It is our understanding that Craft Brew will comply with the requirements of the TTB, as will CSA. Neither label will use the terms “gluten-free”.  Craft Brew will use the statements required by the TTB regarding removal of gluten, and the CSA Recogniton Seal will continue, as in the past, to not use the terms “gluten-free”.  As you know, there is currently no available test to determine any product to be absolutely gluten-free, and even under the FDA final ruling, products allowed to be labeled “gluten-free” may likely contain gluten.  As always, the purpose of CSA Recogntion Seal is to provide consumers with additional information so they can make informed choices on the products they purchase and consume.

Larry Brauer
CSA Special Projects

Based on this email, the CSA will continue to endorse Omission Beer despite the law stating Omission cannot legally be labeled gluten-free. This does not sit well with me and continue to feel that that Celiac Sprue Association doesn't have the celiac community in its best interest.

How do you feel about this revised labeling policy for alcohol and the continued endorsement by the CSA of a gluten-derived beer?

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