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Government orders all nutrition labels removed from beer.

The federal government has ordered Yakima Brewing and Malting Co. to remove nutrition labels from its beer products, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said last week.

Yakima Brewing recently added information about vitamin, mineral and other nutrition elements to the packaging of its Grant's Scottish Ale.

The ATF bureau ordered Grant's to stop using that information because it violates federal law, agency spokesperson Kris Meldrum said from Washington, D.C.

"We told them use of that was not authorized," Meldrum said.

The agency is examining the issue of allowing such information on alcohol products, but has not reached a decision, she said.

For now, the agency relies on a 1950s-era regulation that prohibits any statement "that the use of any malt beverage has curative or therapeutic effects if such statement is untrue in any particular or tends to create a misleading impression."

The agency contends that publicizing the vitamin content of ales would mislead people into believing the products would benefit health.

"I feel very strongly that beer contains dietary factors other than alcohol," brewery owner Herbert Grant said in a news release. "Apparently the government has decided this information is misleading."

Grant has contended that drinking one or two bottles of his beer each day "would make a significant contribution to the adult diet."

Grant, who started his microbrewery in 1981 after years as a employee for major brewers in the United States and Canada, said his company cannot afford to battle the government in court.

He has long been a proponent of moderate social drinking, and fears that "neo-prohibitionists" are out to eliminate alcohol consumption.

The company will be allowed to list the calorie, fat, protein and carbohydrate contents of its ale, Grant said.

However, it will have to remove references that each 12-oz. bottle provides 4 percent of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of protein, as well as 4.6 percent of the vitamin B-2, 14.6 percent of niacin, 62.5 percent of folacin and 170 percent of vitamin B-12.

Those labels began appearing last November.
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Title Annotation:Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms ruling on Yakima Brewing and Malting Co.'s labels
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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