The Distilled Spirits Council in the US (DISCUS) has backed the call for the inclusion of basic dietary information on beverage alcohol labels.

The trade body, which represents spirits companies in the US, said yesterday (22 April) that it was joining consumer and public health groups, including MADD, Consumer Federation of America, Dr. C. Everett Koop's Shape Up America! and National Consumers League, in urging Government support for standard drink information on labels.

The current 'Serving Facts' label proposal, drawn up by the Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), companies would not be required to disclose the amount of alcohol per serving. The proposal would also "prohibit a company from including on the label how much alcohol is in a standard drink, as defined by the US Government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the basis for nutrition policy in the US", DISCUS noted.

"We agree with public health organisations and consumers groups that alcohol per serving and standard drink information should be on any serving facts panel - not just the amount of calories, fat, carbohydrate, and protein," said Peter Cressy, the president of DISCUS. "The current Government proposal fails the consumer and important public health objectives."

DISCUS has joined with public health groups in urging the TTB to revise its current proposal so that:
1.) Serving sizes are 1.5oz for 80-proof distilled spirits, 12oz for beer, 5oz of wine;
2.) The amount of alcohol per serving is required to be disclosed in the 'Serving Facts' panel; and
3.) The text in the panel states "a standard drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol".

"Knowing how much alcohol is in a serving of beer, wine or spirits and how that alcohol content relates to a standard drink helps consumers make responsible drinking decisions," said Cressy. "We join the public health community in urging the federal government to do the right thing and revise its proposal to give consumers more meaningful information on a 'Serving Facts' label."