Court Dismisses Challenge To Ttbs Rejection Of Health Claims On Vodka
In August, the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued its final decision in Bellion Spirits, LLC v. United States, Civ. No. 17-2538 . The Bellion case was brought by spirits company Bellion Spirits after the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau refused to approve a series of health claims advanced by Bellion in connection with its vodka products. According to Bellion, the infusion of its vodka with a compound called NTX will mitigate the damage alcohol inflicts on human DNA.
In 2016, Bellion petitioned TTB to approve eight specific claims related to the NTX-infused vodka. After consulting with the federal Food & Drug Administration , in 2017 TTB rejected all eight claims. Bellion then brought suit, arguing that TTBs actions with respect to two of its claims were illegal and unconstitutional. Bellions complaint advanced four counts alleging that:
TTB impermissibly delegated authority to FDA by consulting with FDA during the petition process
TTBs rejection amounted to the suppression of commercial speech in violation of the First Amendment
TTBs process amounted to an unconstitutional prior restraint on speech in violation of the First Amendment and
TTBs health claims regulation was impermissibly vague in violation of the Due Process requirement of the Fifth Amendment.
The District Courts August 2019 opinion granted summary judgement in favor of TTB. The lengthy and entertaining opinion makes a number of important points, summarized below:
Can You Buy Alcohol Online
We get this question a lot from customers. Can you buy wine online? Or, can you buy alcohol online? Etc.
The answer is yes, depending on the state you live in. You can order wine, spirits and beer online from retailers like Liquorama and have it shipped directly to your door. There are some states where purchasing alcohol online is restricted however, you can see those states HERE.
To buy alcohol online it’s just like ordering anything else online. You make your purchase and have it shipped. The main difference is that because you have to be 21 years old or older to purchase alcohol, an adult will have to be present to sign for the package when it’s delivered
The Health Claims Arent Widely Supported
The TTB doesnt want alcohol companies to make claims that an alcohol product is healthy. Sure, that means the United States doesnt have hilarious Guinness ads anymore telling you that Guinness makes you stronger, but it also keeps people from believing alcohol is safe or healthy like what the tobacco industry did with cigarettes.
Bellions claims rely on studies done by their own scientists. Would you walk into a burning building wearing a flameproof suit if the only people who verified it was flameproof were the people who made it?
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This $40 Million Vodka Could Save Your Liver
Vodka is both wildly popularits the most popular spirit in the U.S.and hard to distinguish. By classic definition a tasteless, odorless liquid, vodka makers put a lot of effort into telling us what makes their offering differentGrey Goose uses French wheat, Ciroc French grapes and so on. Yet between the extensive distillation process for vodka and the probability youre mixing vodka with something else, you need to pay a lot of attention to your palate to distinguish one quality vodka from another. But one vodka maker, Bellion Specialty Vodka, claims to have conjured a game-changing liquor using an ingredient thats taken a decade and $40 million to developNTX.
New York based scientist Harsha Chigurupati and his company Chigurupati Technologies have spent more than 10 years and $40 million in research and clinical trials developing NTX, a patented additive the company says protects the liver and DNA from the damage alcohol inflicts on those parts of the body. If Chigurupati is right, he may just be starting a health revolution in the spirits business.
Vodka in the U.S. isnt completely tasteless regulations allow a small portion of additional… ingredients that can lend a vodka a subtle flavor.
Thats intriguing for sure. But it means little if the vodka isnt good.
Bellion comes well-packaged, in an attractive tall bottle embellished with rubber trim, so it looks the part of a premium vodka youd feel comfortable pulling out among friends.
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Is 0 Alcohol Beer Healthy
Non-alcoholic beer has several health benefits making it one of the healthiest drinks available behind the bar. For instance, drinking non-alcoholic beer can reduce your risk of heart disease, help you sleep, aid bone growth and reduce your risk of getting illnesses like the common cold.
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Vodka Has Evolved: Meet The Worlds First Functional Spirit
When the cocktail hour rolls around, is vodka your drink of choice? If so, youre in luck. Believe it or not, theres a smarter way to drink this beloved beverage. It still goes down smoothly but with better-for-you benefits, all without altering what you most love aboutvodka.
Meet Bellion Vodka, the functional spirit thats the first of its kind. If doctors ordershave you watching your alcohol consumption, then youll want to read on to learn more about this age-old beverage that is easier on the liver and waistline. Its naturally sweet so you can eliminate the need for sugary mixers. Clinical research has proven that it reduces negative side effects. Fans have noted little to no hangovers as well.
Globally, vodka remains one of the most popular alcohols. So why change things up now?
For starters, its naturally sweet and exceptionally smooth. Its distilled six times to bring out the flavor and avoids the need to add sugary mixes. The specialty blend includes taste notes of citrus and a peppery, spicy, and sweet palette that rounds up crisp and clean.
Bellion Vodka is a fun way to enjoy vodka after tee-time, during Sunday brunches, and for upcoming holiday soirees. Its taken an innovative approach to change the 600-year-old distillery process by introducing NTX Technology to the mix. Its a proprietary blend of Licorice Root Extract, Mannitol , and Potassium Sorbate , all FDA-approved ingredients.
- Bellion Bellini:
- Top with prosecco or champagne
- Espresso Martini:
Bellion Spirits Llc V United States No 19
Disclaimer: Justia Annotations is a forum for attorneys to summarize, comment on, and analyze case law published on our site. Justia makes no guarantees or warranties that the annotations are accurate or reflect the current state of law, and no annotation is intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal advice. Contacting Justia or any attorney through this site, via web form, email, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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Is Kava Better Than Alcohol
While research hasnt yet shown kavas specific effects on the liver, there is much evidence to suggest that kava is a healthier alternative to alcohol. Kava lends itself to a relaxed social setting because, while it has anxiety-relieving and muscle-relaxing properties, it doesnt affect cognitive function.
Quoted Supporting Studies Dont Directly Correlate
There was another key study that Bellion related to directly in their petition. The study found that mannitol and glycyrrhizin, two of the main ingredients in NTX, built a stronger liver in rats. For 28 days.
In all, over 70 studies show the key components of NTX produce liver protecting, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects, the petition states. No studies have combined those ingredients for one whammo health product besides Bellions, however. Many of those studies quoted leave out the potassium sorbate , which the Food and Drug Administration labels as generally recognized as safe when used correctly. It can, however be dangerous.
The government doesnt always get alcohol regulations right . But you have to take a deeper look into what benefits a company is actually claiming before trusting big business over big brother. Will NTX kill you? Probably not any faster than traditional alcohol. Should Bellion be allowed to claim its safe? Definitely not, at least until unbiased, conclusive studies can confirm its claims.
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Theres No Such Thing As A Vodka That Goes Easy On Your Liver
A new vodka made by a company called Bellion Spirits claims it doesnt have the strong negative effects that alcohol consumption has on a persons liver and DNA. Its currently only available in 15 states, and food and drink bloggers jumped on the product as a savior that sounds too good to be true.
The truth is: It actually is too good to be true.
Bellion claims that their vodka is safe because of a proprietary blend of chemicals they call NTX. The company hasnt disclosed the amount of each ingredient, but it says that it is a blend of glycyrrhizin , mannitol and potassium sorbate . This mix, Bellion claims, makes drinks safer, i.e., less toxic, than counterparts that do not contain NTX.
So why, you might be thinking, doesnt everyone know about this life-saving chemical cocktail? The answer is that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau , the government agency that regulates health claims alcohol companies are allowed to make, isnt buying into the idea. In fact, it hasnt bought into the idea since 2014 when Bellion first tried to convince consumers it sells safer vodka.
On April 12, 2016, Bellion submitted a petition to the TBB to allow it to advertise the health claims of their vodka. Bellion makes eight health claims, and the ones that are being hailed as a gift from heaven are the claims that it reduces alcohol-induced oxidative damage to the liver, reduces the risk of alcohol-induced liver diseases, and helps protect DNA from alcohol-induced damage.
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This Distiller Claims Its Vodka Is ‘liver
Feds wont say whether or not NTX, the secret ingredient in Bellion’s vodka, slows liver damage
Since the dawn of time, humanity has constantly strived to enjoy life to the fullest without suffering any of its attendant consequences. Theres why theres a whole market for hangover cures that let you drink the night away without the next mornings anguish. But can a spirit brand thats teamed up with an Indian pharmaceutical magnate truly create a safer vodka that lets one imbibe without suffering any long-term liver damage? The federal government isnt too sure.
If Secaucus, New Jersey distiller Bellion has its way, liquor stores across the country will soon be stocked with spirits that you can sip on without destroying your liver. As the story goes, Bellions liver-saving formula is the product of a twelve year, $35 million research project led by Harsha Chigurupati. Dubbed NTX, the compound supposedly blends potassium sorbate, glycyrrhizin and a licorice root based anti-inflammatory called mannitol, and is infused into Bellions beverages after distilling is complete. In clinical trials, lab rats who consumed NTX-infused vodka exhibited 40 to 70% less biomarkers associated with liver damage. Human trials that followed showed similarly positive results.
The Name Is A Little Misleading
Bellion calls the NTX-blended vodka a Functional Spirit . Its the NTX part that the TBB has a problem with, though. NTX supposedly mean new techniques, yet it looks suspiciously similar to Naltrexone, which is a drug used to treat alcohol dependence, the TTB claims. The audience that would be attracted to a less harmful vodka would include people who are trying to reduce their dependence on alcohol. The similarity could be misleading.
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Its Own Studies Were Hardly Conclusive
Bellion claims in its petition that a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over clinical trial involving 12 human subjects found that NTX produced a significant decrease in the biomarkers for liver toxicity. A second test was then done with 31 people.
The sentence reads like a keyword-stuffed headline trying to promote a study. Only 33 people were studied though. That means that each tested liver stands in for the liver of 9.6 million people.
Bellion isnt even positive that it works either. The petition says that hepatoprotective effects that limit liver injury are cumulative and likely to benefit moderate drinkers over their adulthood. Key word here: Likely, not proven.
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