Permitting alcohol companies to voluntarily put "serving facts" information on labels is a step forward in providing more nutrition information to consumers and has long been supported by the distilled spirits industry and every major consumer group ("Are nutritional labels coming on alcoholic drinks?," Nation & World, June 2).
This type of nutrition information, which is widely available on other food and drink products, will help consumers make informed decisions about the products they choose to drink.
After nearly 10 years, the Treasury Department issued a preliminary rule, but there is clearly room for improvement. It is critical that any "serving facts" panel require the amount of alcohol per serving, which now is optional, and also include the statement that "according to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, a standard drink contains 0.6 fl. oz. of alcohol."
As a former director of the Division of Metabolism and Health Effects at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, I can assure you that alcohol research scientists agree that it is essential that this new label include these two vital facts.
Knowing how much alcohol is in a serving of beer, wine or distilled spirits and being able to compare how that alcohol content relates to a standard drink is key to making responsible consumption decisions.
Sam Zakhari, Ph.D.
The writer is senior vice president, Office of Scientific Affairs, Distilled Spirits Council.