Wine Institute Responds to HHS Dietary Guidelines Regarding Alcohol Beverages

The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) recently released the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  With respect to consumption of alcoholic beverages, the guidelines provide that “One drink is defined as 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol), 5 fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol), or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof (40% alcohol distilled spirits).  One drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol.”  While the Wine Institute supported the “time-tested” serving sizes and the Guideline’s key recommendations regarding alcohol (that “If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age,”) the organization took issue with HHS’s statement that each drink contains the same amount of alcohol.  According to the Wine Institute statement, “[a] precise fluid-ounces-of-alcohol statement implies that the alcohol content is the same for every drink of wine, beer or distilled spirits when, in reality, alcohol content varies widely from drink to drink.  Consumers should not be misled into believing there is such a thing as a ‘standard drink.’  In fact, the term ‘standard  drink’ does not appear in the Dietary Guidelines.”
For more information or assistance on wine regulatory issues please contact Bahaneh Hobel at [email protected].
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