US wineries press for calorie ‘estimates’

Winemakers in the US are lobbying to have new rules over labelling softened, citing the costs involved in providing the exact calorific content of their products.

The new rule puts the focus on restaurants to only list wines that provide exact calorie information (Photo: Public-Domain-Images)

The new rule puts the focus on restaurants to only list wines that have the time and resources to provide exact calorie information (Photo: Public-Domain-Images)

The new rules brought in by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 1 force chain restaurants to give calorie information on the wines they list on their menus.

This means that wineries without the resources or the time to quickly provide restaurant groups with calorie information for each of their products could lose valuable business.

As a compromise, WineAmerica, the trade body that represents around 600 US wine producers, is lobbying for “calorie estimates” to be allowed instead.

The Washington Post quotes Michael Kaiser, director of public affairs at WineAmerica, as saying that it costs around $500 (£330) per wine to test for exact calorific content.

“If you’re a small winery making 10 wines, it’s just another step to take before taking products to market,” he said. “It’s cost and time.”

The changes made by the FDA form part of the Affordable Care Act, and they cover all alcoholic beverages listed on menus but not those ordered at the bar. It applies to restaurant chains comprising of 20 establishments or more.

The wine association is also lobbying the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which regulates the labelling of alcoholic beverages, to keep the disclosure of nutritional information on wine labels voluntary, according to the Post. 

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