Wine Industry Makes Lobbying Push on FDA Calorie Rule

The trade group WineAmerica is urging the FDA not to require wineries to test each type of wine they produce, a practice the organization says could be extremely costly.

A new calorie mandate for restaurants has winemakers looking for a plan B.

WineAmerica, a leading trade association for wine manufacturers, has hired a Washington, DC, lobbying firm to push the Food and Drug Administration to amend a rule that requires restaurants with at least 20 locations to list calorie counts for all food and alcohol on their menus. The trade group wants the agency to allow wineries to provide restaurants with calorie ranges based on serving size and alcohol content, rather than exact calorie counts for specific wines.

According to the trade group, testing to determine exact calorie counts would cost around $500 per variety of wine—a hardship for winemakers, especially small ones, if it were required for each Chardonnay or Pinot Noir on the menu.

“If you’re a small winery making 10 wines, it’s just another step to take before taking products to market,” Michael Kaiser, WineAmerica’s director of public affairs, told the Washington Post. “It’s cost and time.”

The new calorie rule, which was included in the Affordable Care Act, has received mixed reviews. The National Restaurant Association backed the rule, saying it preferred a uniform national requirement to a variety of state rules, but grocery stores, gas stations, and other retailers that sell freshly prepared food along with other products opposed it.

The rule went into effect last month, but businesses have until December 1, 2015, to comply.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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