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TTB Issues Statement on Clean Wine Claims

On April 8, 2022, the federal Alcohol and Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) issued its third regulatory reminder about misleading and unsubstantiated health-related marketing statements — this time focusing on the word “clean.” In this latest installment, TTB explains that its regulations do not define the word “clean” and it does not have standards for use of the term on labels or in advertisements. Thus, consumers should not interpret the term “clean” as meaning the beverage is organic or has met other production standards that TTB sets.In some cases, the term “clean” is simply being used as a descriptor of the taste of the beverage — e.g., “X winery makes a clean, crisp wine” — which TTB considers to be allowable. In other cases, however, TTB is seeing the term “clean” used together with other language to create the misleading impression that consumption of the alcohol beverage will have health benefits or will mitigate health risks otherwise associated with alcohol consumption. TTB provides examples such as ”X malt beverage is clean and healthy” or “Y vodka’s clean production methods mean no headaches for you” and makes clear it would consider those claims to be misleading health-related statements.TTB’s series of guidance follows its meeting with Wine Institute a few weeks prior. At that meeting, Wine Institute expressed concerns about potentially misleading health-related statements on alcohol beverage labels and in advertising. Since that time, TTB has also warned against use of unsubstantiated health-related statements such as “no headaches,” “hangover free,” “diabetic friendly,” “recovery drink,” “anti-inflammatory,” “aphrodisiac” and “health benefits.”

Questions?Contact Wine Institute’s Legal team