TTB approves labels for powdered alcohol, clearing the way for U.S. commercial marketing.

  • Even before the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau (TTB) issued and rescinded label approvals for powdered alcohol (“Palcohol”) in 2014, many interested and concerned parties have been preparing for the likely commercial marketing of this product.
  • In March 2015, TTB issued final approval for four product Palcohol labels, which will permit the marketing of these products in the U.S.  Across the country, legislators have moved to ban the marketing of Palcohol in their states.  Senator Schumer (D-NY) has introduced federal legislation to make the production, sale, and possession of Palcohol illegal as well.
  • Many stakeholders have voiced concerns about the public health and safety risks potentially associated with Palcohol.  According to the product manufacturer, both “FDA and the TTB [] have reviewed Palcohol and tested it and found no problems with allowing it to go forward to be approved for sale.”  Comparisons already are being made between Palcohol and Four Loko, the caffeinated alcoholic beverage for which FDA issued warning letters citing the addition of caffeine as an “unsafe food additive.”  Although the degree of FDA’s premarket regulatory involvement is unclear, it remains to be seen whether and how the Agency will take postmarket steps to investigate the safety of this controversial product.