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§ 5.41 - Alteration of labels.

(a) Prohibition. It is unlawful for any person to alter, mutilate, destroy, obliterate or remove any mark, brand, or label on distilled spirits in containers held for sale in interstate or foreign commerce, or held for sale after shipment in interstate or foreign commerce, except as authorized by §§ 5.42, 5.43, or 5.44, or as otherwise authorized by Federal law.

(b) Authorized relabeling. For purposes of the relabeling activities authorized by this subpart, the term “relabel” includes the alteration, mutilation, destruction, obliteration, or removal of any existing mark, brand, or label on the container, as well as the addition of a new label (such as a sticker that adds information about the product or information engraved on the container) to the container, and the replacement of a label with a new label bearing identical information.

(c) Obligation to comply with other requirements. Authorization to relabel under this subpart:

(1) In no way authorizes the placement of labels on containers that do not accurately reflect the brand, bottler, identity, or other characteristics of the product;

(2) Does not relieve the person conducting the relabeling operations from any obligation to comply with the regulations in this part and with State or local law; and,

(3) Does not relieve the person conducting the relabeling operations from any obligation to obtain permission from the owner of the brand where otherwise required.

§ 5.42 - Authorized relabeling activities by distillers and importers.

(a) Relabeling at distilled spirits plant premises. A proprietor of distilled spirits plant premises may relabel domestically bottled distilled spirits prior to removal from, and after return to bond at, the distilled spirits plant premises, with labels covered by a certificate of label approval (COLA), without obtaining separate permission from TTB for the relabeling activity, provided that the proprietor is the certificate holder (and bottler).

(b) Relabeling after removal from distilled spirits plant premises. A proprietor of distilled spirits plant premises may relabel domestically bottled distilled spirits (or direct the relabeling of such spirits by an authorized agent) after removal from distilled spirits plant premises with labels covered by a COLA, without obtaining separate permission from TTB for the relabeling activity, provided that the proprietor is the certificate holder (and bottler).

(c) Relabeling in customs custody. Under the supervision of U.S. customs officers, imported distilled spirits in containers in customs custody may be relabeled without obtaining separate permission from TTB for the relabeling activity. Such containers must bear labels covered by a COLA upon their removal from customs custody for consumption. See § 5.24(b).

(d) Relabeling after removal from customs custody. The importer of distilled spirits in containers may relabel imported distilled spirits (or direct the relabeling of such spirits by an authorized agent) after removal from customs custody without obtaining separate permission from TTB for the relabeling activity, as long as the labels are covered by a COLA.

§ 5.43 - Relabeling activities that require separate written authorization from TTB.

(a) General. Any permittee holding distilled spirits for sale who needs to relabel the containers but is not the original bottler may apply for written permission for the relabeling of distilled spirits containers. The appropriate TTB officer may permit relabeling of distilled spirits in containers if the facts show that the relabeling is for the purpose of compliance with the requirements of this part or State law, or for the purpose of replacing damaged labels.

(b) Application. The written application must include:

(1) Copies of the original and proposed new labels;

(2) The circumstances of the request, including the reason for relabeling;

(3) The number of containers to be relabeled;

(4) The location where the relabeling will take place; and

(5) The name and address of the person who will be conducting the relabeling operations.

§ 5.44 - Adding a label or other information to a container that identifies the wholesaler, retailer, or consumer.

Any label or other information that identifies the wholesaler, retailer, or consumer of the distilled spirits may be added to containers (by the addition of stickers, engraving, stenciling, etc.) without prior approval from TTB and without being covered by a certificate of label approval or certificate of exemption from label approval. Such information may be added before or after the containers have been removed from distilled spirits plant premises or released from customs custody. The information added:

(a) May not violate the provisions of subpart F, G, or H of this part;

(b) May not contain any reference to the characteristics of the product; and

(c) May not be added to the container in such a way that it obscures any other labels on the container.