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H.R. 3115 (104th): Alcohol Ingredient Labeling Act of 1996

The text of the bill below is as of Mar 19, 1996 (Introduced).

HR 3115 IH


2d Session

H. R. 3115

To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require ingredient labeling for malt beverages, wine, and distilled spirits, and for other purposes.


March 19, 1996

Mrs. SCHROEDER (for herself, Mr. KENNEDY of Massachusetts, Mr. DELLUMS, Mr. SERRANO, Mr. ACKERMAN, and Mr. MARKEY) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Commerce


To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require ingredient labeling for malt beverages, wine, and distilled spirits, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ‘Alcohol Ingredient Labeling Act of 1996’.


    Section 403 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 343) is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(t)(1) If it is a malt beverage (including malt liquor or malt cooler), wine (including wine cooler or fortified wine), distilled spirit (including distilled spirit cooler), or any other beverage, over-the-counter medication, or similar product containing more than 1/2 percent alcohol by volume unless it bears a label which--

      ‘(A) discloses in a nonpromotional manner the alcoholic content by volume,

      ‘(B) discloses the number of drinks it contains rounded to the nearest quarter drink,

      ‘(C) discloses its ingredients and calories per container and per drink,

      ‘(D) discloses the common or usual name of each ingredient (including additives), and

      ‘(E) bears the following statement: ‘If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, a call may be made to (reference to a toll-free number established and operated by the Secretary) for help’.

    ‘(2) For purposes of subparagraph (1):

      ‘(A) The term ‘malt beverage’ means a beverage made by the alcoholic fermentation of an infusion or decoction, or combination of both, in potable brewing water of malted barley with hops, or their parts or products, with or without other malted cereals, with or without the addition of unmalted or prepared cereals, other carbohydrates, or materials prepared, with or without the addition of carbon dioxide, and with or without other wholesome products suitable for human food consumption.

      ‘(B) The term ‘wine’ means wine as defined in sections 610 and 617 of the Revenue Act of 1918 and other alcoholic beverages made in the manner of wine, including sparkling and carbonated wine, wine made from condensed grape must, wine made from other agricultural products than the juice of sound, ripe grapes, imitation wine, wine compounds sold as wine, vermouth, cider, sherry, and sake if it contains not less than 7 percent and not more than 24 percent of alcohol by volume and if for nonindustrial use.

      ‘(C) The term ‘distilled spirit’ means ethyl alcohol, hydrated oxide of ethyl, spirits of wine, whisky, rum, brandy, gin, and other distilled spirits, including all dilutions and mixtures thereof for nonindustrial use. Such term does not include mixtures containing wine, bottled at 48 degrees of proof or less if the mixture contains more than 50 percent wine on a proof gallon basis.

      ‘(D) The term ‘drink’ is a serving of a malt beverage, wine, or distilled spirit which contains .6 ounces of alcohol by volume.

      ‘(E) The term ‘ingredient’ shall not mean incidental or trace ingredients.

    ‘(3) The Secretary shall by regulation require that the information required on a container of a malt beverage, wine, or distilled spirit label by subparagraph (1)--

      ‘(A) be located in a conspicuous place on such label,

      ‘(B) appear in conspicuous and legible type which is in contrast by typography, layout, and color with other printed matter and which is of a size no less than one-sixteenth of an inch in height,

      ‘(C) be displayed horizontally,

      ‘(D) be easily legible when the container is held in the usual way,

      ‘(E) be offset by borders, and

      ‘(F) in the case of the requirement of subparagraph (1)(B), be stated as a number followed by the word ‘drinks’, be contained within a beer mug symbol, and be placed on the front of the container.’.


    There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary $500,000 for fiscal year 1996 and each succeeding fiscal year to establish and operate the toll-free number referred to in section 403(s)(1)(E) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (as added by section 1).


    The Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration shall submit a report, within 90 days of the date of the enactment of this Act, on the effectiveness of the format of the Surgeon General’s warning required by section 204 of the Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act of 1988 in combination with the new ingredient information required on beverage labels by the amendment made by section 2. The Commissioner shall evaluate the format of such information in terms of its legibility, placement, and noticeability and in terms of other relevant characteristics. The report shall make recommendations for improving such format.