The Center for Science in the Public Interest discusses labels on “Spykes, the controversial shot-sized malt liquor drinks produced by Anheuser-Busch”:
In a letter to John J. Manfreda, the administrator of the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the agency that regulates alcohol labeling, CSPI said that the warning label on Spykes doesn’t meet the government’s clear-cut standards for readability, which include minimum font sizes, a maximum number of characters per inch, and a contrasting background. The text on Spykes’ “Spicy Lime” warning label is in “nearly invisible silver lettering on a non-contrasting, light lime-green background,” according to CSPI, and has too many characters per inch…
Violations of the Alcohol Beverage Labeling Act and TTB regulations are punishable by civil penalties of up to $10,000 a day. Since four versions of the product are all in violation, and have been on the market since January, Anheuser-Busch should be assessed more than $3 million if future labeling violations are to be deterred, according to CSPI. And, since TTB inspectors missed the violations when reviewing the label, the agency should either discipline or retrain the individuals who signed off on the Spykes label.
See the full release here. We’re watching this one very closely. A three million dollar fine will cause many in the food and beverage industry to double check to see if their labels are indeed compliant.