Court Dismisses Liquor Co.’s Suit Aiming for Approval to Market with Health Claims
A D.C. court has dismissed Bellion Spirits LLC’s lawsuit aiming to compel the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to permit the company to market its products as containing “NTX, a proprietary blend of ingredients that they contend mitigates alcohol’s damage to DNA.” Bellion Spirits LLC v. United States, No. 17-2538 (D.D.C., entered August 1, 2019). TTB denied Bellion’s application to make the health claims because it purportedly found inadequate substantiation after consulting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Bellion filed suit, arguing that TTB could not work with FDA without express statutory authority. The court disagreed, finding that TTB has exclusive regulatory authority to make final decisions on alcohol, but nothing prohibits the agencies from consulting with each other. The court also dismissed Bellion’s First Amendment argument, which maintained that its claims about NTX are true; the court noted that it must be deferential to TTB’s finding that the claims are unsubstantiated.